First Day of School

Today, farm school begins.  Today, the mental prep work ends and the physical work begins.  In the weeks and months leading up to this moment, I have sat with the words of many great farmer philosophers and I’ve not escaped unchanged.

I’m excited for what’s ahead.  Farm School will be an exercise in living simply, practicing gratitude, being responsible to a local community and learning to respect nature’s limits.  It will be a chance to use my body in tangible ways to connect with the awesome force that sustains life on this planet.  It is the promise of a more authentic and responsible way of living on this planet –  the sense of being in right relationship with place.  With each passing day my belief in this path has grown more resolute.  And for the life I have stretching out in front of me, farming feels like a sacred calling.

But as much as I have fallen in love with this line of work intellectually I am waiting to find out if I will appreciate it as much in its day-to-day practice.  I don’t approach this year expecting farming to be a tranquil existence.  I expect to be humbled by the work, challenged by monotony and to be a little bit lonely.  We won’t be getting rich, and if this were our farm, I expect I would be dogged by stressed.

And so, looking ahead to a year from now, Dina and I have a lot of questions for our future selves:

  • Is this a life we think we can really live?  Are we up for the physicality, the economic realities, the simplicity, the ruralness?
  • How hard is it really?
  • Is the struggle worth it?  Is my soul fed the way we envision?  Is this the “great unplugging” we’re hoping for?  Is there room for our highest ideals or will all our energy be going to practical considerations?
  • (Am I still really terrible at banjo?)
  • Are finances any more clear?  Is the land we envision attainable?  Can we be simple and sustainable without feeling destitute?

At this moment it feels like an immense ocean lies between today and the answers.  But we’re finally standing at the waters edge.  We feel small by comparison but enlivened by its presence.

Time to get wet.

PS – A huge thank you to everyone whose support is making this possible.  We are so moved by your love.

The hardest part of the day. (Photo by Dylan Trivette | Trivette Images)

Future farmers gathered by the fire.


  • October 5, 2012 at 11:39 am // Reply

    Holding you both in my heart and prayers as this chapter begins. May you be sustained, encouraged, and inspired in all that lies ahead

    • October 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm // Reply

      You’re the best. The same goes for you. Transition is certainly something we share in common right now. Much love in your journey too.

  • October 5, 2012 at 11:46 am // Reply

    You carry with you the hopes and child-like dreams that so many of us still nurse despite the fact that we are fully entangled in the gears of an industrialized existence.

    In the months ahead, while you stare down at the mud on your boots, wipe the hay from your neck, or feel the cold drizzle drip off your hat and onto your face, know that YOU are the LUCKY one. We here back in town are so far removed from the earth. . . . we can no longer tell potting soil from dirt :-)

    –go Erik and Dina

    • October 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm // Reply

      Child-like dreams are the best ;). And so far, I need no reminders I’m the lucky one – just something to assuage my guilt.

  • October 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm // Reply

    Good luck! You’ve got a lot of great questions in front of you, and you’re certain to come up with answers. And a lot more questions.

    We’re just finishing up our first year with the New Entry Sustainable Farming project, farming on a quarter acre. The learning and work has been intense, and completely addictive. (And never monotonous, that’s for sure.)

    Looking forward to hearing your reports as you go.

    • October 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm // Reply

      You’re very right Patrick. It is interesting how in just a few days those questions have already evolved. I wasn’t aware you were with the NESFP, they seem like a great organization. I’d love to connect with you about that sometime. Is the Young Farmers Conference at Stone Barns on your radar? We’re probably going to go and seems like it could be up your alley:

  • October 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm // Reply

    I have absolutely not doubt that the journey ahead of you both will be excruciating and also incredibly, unimaginably blessed. You know you will be in my thoughts and prayers for the duration.


    • October 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm // Reply

      Thanks for the note Liz! There have already been blessings in the work and sadness in our separation already. But the good stuff usually involve having to work for it, right? Let us know if Jason has questions about your gutter gardens!

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