The future is beautiful and our organic farm in Norwich is part of the solution
I’ve recently come back from a trip to Italy. I don’t have a favourite country to visit. I’ve loved every country I’ve been to for one reason or another. But Italy always makes me feel glad to be alive. Their appreciation of good food and wine. Their love of children and focus on their families but also on basic human values – generosity, kindness, fun, relaxation. I did lots of swimming, eating and talking to people. Farming has a reputation for being a lonely job and one of the benefits of Norwich FarmShare is that the role of grower is shared between two people. This means its possible to take a break. There is also lots of community involvement which means there is time for social work and quiet contemplative work. The best of all worlds.
While in Italy I observed lots of different types of farming. The area in the pre-Alps north of the Po Valley is full of neat orchards with beautiful looking apples. The Ligurian coast is blessed with steep, terraced hillsides which drop into turquoise seas. The back breaking work that went into building those terraces to create flat land on 45 degree slopes means this area can be intensively farmed. While many farmers have left the land there are still well managed olive groves and vineyards. Electric tracks transport mini carriages up the slopes to collect the grapes.
Back in Norwich I really appreciate what a great piece of land we have access to. The soil is relatively fertile, its flat, it has good sun and access to water. I’ve recently been listening to a podcast by Amisha Ghadiali (The Future is Beautiful) where she talked about the challenges and opportunities raised by the complex world we live in and the apocalyptic threats of climate change and species extinction. While we may have reached some irreversible tipping points in the planet’s ecosystems we also have the potential to embrace many new ways of living. I guess when the stakes are so high then everything is up for grabs – our economic paradigms, our social values, our political systems.
It seems that Norwich FarmShare has within it the embryo of something really beautiful. A piece of land being farmed organically producing food for people within a few miles of where they live. A way of farming that tries to rebuild soil and absorb rather than release carbon. An ethos of caring for people, caring for the planet and caring for the way we produce and use our food. This caring ethos encapsulates everything we do and is a great antidote to the uncaring, thoughtless way we can be encouraged to behave by many of the systems that dominate our lives today. If you’re looking for a way to get fit, to get healthy, to meet people, to care for each other, to care for the planet, to build community, to create a model of successful, community centred or small scale agricultural enterprises then Norwich FarmShare is definitely offering something positive in response to many of those questions.
The keys to our success will be in becoming financially viable, looking after our members and our team and working in ways that make people feel alive rather than numb. There is money in farming. There is love in farming. I think this is a really exciting time to be doing what we’re doing, even more so because of the more negative trends that are affecting much of our global society. I hope you agree and will support us in any way you can.
August 25th 2019