Last week wrapped up the bulk of our orientation as new trainees at Sarvodaya. We got a rundown of the nursery, assisted in building a big, beautiful compost pile, and learned how to take care of the chickens and their grazing rotation in the orchard. The first position bestowed upon my team and I is field operation, and I am excited to take on this new responsibility. I feel like a real intern already!
Some days, when I am around friends and family who are less aware of the problems (and likely solutions) that I see in our world, I get down about the prospects of our culture remedying its errors. But I am always re-heartened by individuals who are showing us how we can live in harmony with the earth through creative example. One such individual, Ernst Gotsch, was the subject of a video that Traci shared with us last week (thanks again Traci!). He is actively involved in restoring Amazonian rainforest in Brazil, using dynamic agroforestry techniques to turn denuded mining and logging land into productive, healthy, and life-supporting food forests. This was one of the most inspiring regenerative agriculture projects that I have seen to date, and I hope that one day I will be a part of a similarly incredible endeavor to heal the earth. Ernst says that this type of agriculture can be applied anywhere on the planet…why not here?
Having such grand dreams for the future, however, mixed with an unfortunately American sense of rush and urgency, can make me feel impatient. I often feel as though I am not developing my knowledge quickly enough to “save the planet,” as it were. I must remind myself that I am still at the beginning of my journey, and that these things take time. Trees do not grow to full maturity in a season, and a lifetime of work, study, and dedication may be necessary to truly master the skills I am after. I must let go of my human limitations, and accept that not all is up to me. Perhaps that is a good thing, lol….In the meantime, however, working at Sarvodaya satisfies my thirst for meaningful action. At the farm, I am centered and grounded in place where the universe works through me to achieve its purpose. Here I belong. Already I am gaining confidence in my abilities and intutions. Every day, the plants grow inside me a new sense of connection, and I as well in them; I am sure of it!
Hello everyone! This has been a great week getting to know the farm and the new intern group; I’m really looking forward to the rest of the program. I feel like I’m learning a ton of new information every day, and this gives me hope for a future where I might be able to contribute to the need for sustainable food and settlement.
Just a recap of where I’m coming from: I currently live in Pasadena, and I was studying at UC Santa Cruz about a year and a half ago. But after much contemplation on my place in this culture, one which sadly is destroying our home planet at an alarming rate, I decided to leave and begin a new journey. My path is now aimed towards developing a set of skills and knowledge that will allow me to live in harmony with the natural environment and be more or less community- and self-sufficient, instead of relying on and contributing to the larger industrial society which seems so oblivious to its relation to nature.
Today we talked about the idea of the farm as an ecosystem and how every living organism in this environment is dynamically connected to each of the others. As farmers and stewards of the land, we can observe and align ourselves with these living beings to support our own efforts in growing food and preserving ecosystem health. This contrasts starkly with the model for industrial agriculture, which severs and sterilizes these processes in a futile attempt to control them while making terribly inefficient use of energy and resources. There is a great diagram in the Permaculture Designer’s Manual which beautifully illustrates the difference between these two methods of approach, using the example of producing an egg, shown below: