It has been a cold and rainy Spring here at Sun Dog Farm and our leisurely mountain drives around Nottley Lake have been particularly beautiful. The high water levels mirroring the breathtaking cloudy skies strewn across the horizon have given the lush mountain peaks an extra sense of majesty. The trees have put on what are most nearly full leaves and the blooms of cultivated and naturalized plants have filled the air with their delicate scents and features. Life is all a buzz, yet even this morning our neatly tucked little valley faced the damaging chills of a late Spring frost. Another frost is predicted for tomorrow morning and possibly after that the threat will diminish and the bounty of foods gathering strength from the sun and other energies will safely pursue their purpose. Even with the unpredictable weather patterns and bouts of heavy rain, life has found its course and navigated the extremes with grace. We harvested the first of our cultivated crops and brought them to market on Saturday and I suspect that each week will grow in volume and diversity. After just five months on the property, Sun Dog Farm is finally shaping up to be a productive venture and thriving farm organism.
And here I am on a daily basis soaking in the beautiful expressions of this valley. On a golden morning harvesting radishes, I was amazed to realize how much the farm is an extension of my own consciousness. The cracks and crevices of my imagination burst forth the blue print for this dynamic landscape and my physical experience went about like a busy bee putting the pieces together. While part of this process certainly seems to stem from the vision within my own consciousness, the farm is an organism unto itself. There are moments as a farmer where you look about all of your work and feel a great sense of pride. There are maybe just as many differing moments where you look about at all of the incredible life forces around you harnessing energies all on their own and you simply feel grateful. I have come to realize that my role here on the farm varies, but it is certainly never “master” or the “boss.” I have found that I am but one part of the farm organism, an entity just as important as any other, but not one that could work to the exclusion of any other of the farm’s necessary functioning systems and organs.
The farm also serves as a perfect mirror of the self. It always seems that when there are deep rooted, difficult issues within my own being to confront, the farm suffers an ailment that can only be cured through braving these tough emotions. This process not only strengthens the vitality of the farm organism, but strengthens my own abilities and purposes on the farm and as a person living in a complex and physical realm. Viewing the farm as a perfect mirror and as an extension of myself, myself an extension to it, is what I believe turns the vegetables from food into medicine. This is not strictly speaking to how the farm is medicine for me, but how I can take what is grown in this precious ecosystem and share it with the vibrant food community as a nutrient dense edible with highly medicinal properties.
When the farmer acknowledges that the farm is of their own creation, uniquely them, and filled to the brim with the love of those who work the land, the food grown under these conditions of holistic nurturing and care exhibit medicinal qualities. The addage, “know your farmer,” truly expresses the importance of purchasing food from the very people who put the seeds in the ground. When someone loves their land and crops enough to not only put their name on the label, but to put their face behind the table at the Farmers Market, it can be made quite clear that they are doing what they love and that love is what grew the products they are offering. That love is what ensures that the crops receive the proper nutrition required to fulfill the needs of the plants and the people who eat them and that love carries over into the farm organism as a whole. Love is as dynamic a force as a farm is an organism and the relationship between the two is the best source of medicine available today.
The season of abundance is upon us and there is no better time to get out and buy your food, your simple medicine, from the farmers directly through Farmers Markets, CSA programs, and other venues dedicated to the good food movement. Just as the farmer is but one part of the farm, the customer has as much a role to play in the success of the farm and the fulfillment of its purpose. Every dollar spent on a farm based product is a dollar that filters back through the farm organism and replenishes the needs of the system. This process ties us all together, and I would like all of our customers and supporters to know that they too are an integrated part of the Sun Dog Farm organism. The vitality of the farm is inextricably linked to the vitality of the venture and we are so honored to be a part of such a culturally rich and dedicated food community of families, farmers markets, and chefs alike in the city of Atlanta. Your support manifests the medicine from our fields and ensures that our love wanders only to those who wish to cherish it.
Hippocrates – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”