My farm, our farm, your farm

 Photo credit: Ilana Freddye

Photo credit: Ilana Freddye

Author: Rebekah Papé, Director of Community and Outreach

I've been writing for over a decade - for myself, my own blog, for work.  I often find that the hardest part is getting started.  That's been especially true for this blog.  Why?  Because I'm a very small part of Ecolibrium Farms.  I’m intimidated by the task of telling our story.  It feels arrogant to think that somehow I can put words to who we are and what we’re doing. Even that we - in the sense of our team - is too small, because it’s really about what we’re all doing together.  Not just our farm team, but everyone who visits our farm or eats our food, or works the land with us, or supports our vision through social media feeds.  It’s all part of we and I’m used to writing for me.  Using my voice to tell a communal story is a daunting task. But if I don’t start writing, this page remains blank.

So I’ll just jump right in.  It’s like being at the lake in the summer - the lake of my childhood.  That's where I am right now, working remotely and spending time with family.  This lake in the mountains of Idaho freezes over in winter, so it can have a bite in the early weeks of summer.  I arrive and stand on the edge of the dock to consider the jump or dive, and the longer I wait and ponder, the harder it is to make the leap.  A running start is really best - from the edge of the dock or even from up the path from the cabin - that momentum carries me off the edge and suddenly I'm in the water.  Every year that first dive takes my breath away, yet the shock to my system puts me instantly in the here and now, in this place and nowhere else.  The sensation of diving, coming up for air, and shaking the water from my ears is so refreshing and life-giving that I wonder why I ever hesitated. Once I'm in the water, I'm home.

The farm is the same for me - being connected to a place and to our community, it's like coming home.  My working life thus far has been a twisty, topsy, turvy ride in a million different directions, or so it seems to me.  I never imagined I'd find a place that invited me to bring all of myself - my mish-mash of disparate experiences and talents, dreams and desires, questions and fears - yet I have.  In more ways than one, I've found ecolibrium.

But, as I said at the beginning, this isn't just my story.  It's ours and yours.  So…yes…let’s dive into the ongoing story of our farm.  It’s a journey filled with love of land, of food, of wellbeing, and of community.  Our team has a passion that I think best expressed in our own words. And so, here it is, as recorded around the table in our walnut grove one afternoon this summer...

Micah The farm for me is to be a part of something where teamwork is incredibly crucial.  You can cook great food with one person.  You can’t make a farm run with one person.  There’s no choice but to work together as a group, and that’s a new experience to me.  I’m really bad at asking for help, but I’m learning how to do that.  And then this tree over here, it’s been cut down but it’s still alive and growing.  The farm is wonder and curiosity, and trying to solve problems.  It's attachment to place, which is our place, here.

Pierson The farm is a representation of life.  There’s life out here, birth and death, the cycle of life, plant life, bugs, awareness of surroundings, sounds that you hear...if you hear something that’s not normal, then it’s not normal.  Ecolibrium is about sharing the tastes of the farm from our little slice of paradise.  

Joy The farm has been a huge place of personal and professional growth. I'm realizing things that I never knew about myself, working out here with ya’ll.  I'm realizing weaknesses and strengths,  growing instead of staying static.  This is a place of meditation, an experience of repetitive tasks in the field.

Kate The farm to me means community first and foremost. It provides a space to nourish our bodies and spirits. A space to come together and share our passions for food, health, and the environment. The farm embodies the cyclic nature of life, and the ebb and flow of possibility. It is a constant reminder that I have allies in the quest for health and it fills me with gratitude to be part of the journey to live simply, nourish ourselves well, and to laugh often with loved ones.

Aaron I’m really happy to spend a lot of my time here, I feel fortunate.  

Jessie Even being here a short time, I’ve learned so much.  It’s inspiring for my future and career goals, to see that it’s so successful. To see how beautiful the produce is that's going out is inspiring to me.  Everything you do here, you see the reward a week later.

Molly The farm for me is a safe space to remember what it feels like to be fully human and connect with earth mama in a truly raw nature. It is a place to get away from the city hustle and surround myself with inspiring and supportive people, whom are working to build our community and land for all future life. I go to the farm and sit with my plants when life seems to get demanding and loud, and I always leave feeling rejuvenated and full of gratitude for the beauty that is mere existence.

Tony This is the only hard labor job that I get a lot of satisfaction out of.  What I do has an immediate effect, it's palpable.  I’ve never worked this many hours anywhere, and I love it.  It’s a good time on the farm.

Alex The farm is always a mirror and a fusion.  I see dreams, ideas, and visions reflected.  And I see getting immersed and lost in it and there’s no place I’d rather be for eight months of the year. What do I see when I look in the mirror?  I see obsession, control, beauty, and forgiveness.  It’s the best mirror out there.  This space creates community better than anywhere else.  Not just the community I want, but the true essence of community - my community's vision of community.  It’s been there all along, but I’m seeing it now.  And a chance for redemption.  (Every day, every season) we shake the etch-a-sketch.  

That's our vision, our experience of Ecolibrium Farms.  And now it's your turn.  What does the farm mean to you?