Intro- The long and personal version is here in an essay I wrote awhile back: http://www.connectingwithin.com/reclaiming-wholeness-an-essay-on-my-personal-journey/
The short, is that I have been admiring the work of the The Growing Home/Club for many years now; always feeling that I had come home when with Manju, Rishi and family. For years, connection to them has sustained me in my gardening experiments at home (can you say mulch?). When they started the internship program, I was filled with longing to be there, but didn’t think I could because I homeschool. After a recent visit there, Manju said about Maya, “She’s ready for the internship program.” I was thrilled to hear this and asked if we could do the internship as a family. For years, I have been integrating nature connection, gardening, and earth based/indigenous wisdom into my holistic counseling and family support practice..and I knew that being at the farm would only help to deepen all of these understandings. As well as, help us as a family to really integrate the practical knowledge and experience we will need when we move to our own, much dreamed of, ‘little plot of land.’
In the first couple weeks, I have reflected that Manju and Rishi were so wise to split us up into groups so that the children could have some independence and make their own friendships. It has been so touching to me to see the way all of the adults are so respectful and kind as they interact with each one. Sabriel was especially supported by Elinor who brought child sized gloves, tools, shovels and a wheelbarrow to the farm (lent from her Montessori school). He has been so delighted to use all of these and is thriving with all of the warm attention and interest shown in him.
While a part of me, is partly always ‘on call’ as mama, I am actually feeling unexpectedly free at the farm because all of my children are so engrossed and busy, supported by mentors. I tear up and feel so touched every time I think about this; it feels like the village I have always wanted and wish that every child could experience. We were going to be traveling more this year, but slowed that down in order to participate in the internship. Still, when we are there I feel like I am worlds away from the status quo, busyness, competitiveness and madness of our culture. It is regenerative farming, and life. I know we are right where we need to be right now.
On a practical level, I am also learning so much. Having tried and only sporadically succeeded to grow my own seedlings, I am appreciating the systematic and informed approach to caring for seedlings that is done on the farm. A big ‘aha’ was that I need to use fish fertilizer because the seedlings go through the nutrients in the soil. I also see that I need a more organized set up and routine. I learn best by doing, so I am hoping these rhythms will be ingrained into me.
And then there are the perks of connecting with the interns and other ‘farmily!’ We spent a couple days at Elinor and Elizabeth’s school learning how to make our own sheaths for our pruners (which their amazing students taught us). Everyone felt so proud of themselves! And Elinor has been teaching nutrition classes and preparing feasts that are supporting so much of our countercultural approach to food. These classes and conversations with Manju about cooking, are more of the tribe I have longed for; it is so nice not to be the only one saying these things anymore!