At Transition Garden, we are hosting Eleanor, a Workaway.info worker for 12 days. While taking a year off between her undergraduate degree and a Masters degree, she has decided that learning about food production is important for the future, and the career work she may be doing in architectural planning. Like Eleanor, countless others are feeling the same way – knowing somewhere deep in their bones that getting your hands into the soil is an essential skill to know. People are seeking out this learning, finding and listening to skilled teachers, and knowing they will in turn have to pass it on to others.
One of my favorite examples begins with Helen and Scott Nearing, who I consider some of the original back-to-the-landers when they left New York City in the 1930’s and went to farmstead in Vermont, and eventually in Maine. One of their more popular books Living the Good Life: How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World describes their ability to live a simple yet productive lifestyle. One of their students was Elliott Coleman, who learned deeply from their gardening techniques and went on to publish many books on his own. One in particular, The New Organic Grower, turned many heads about the power of four season gardening. Again, in turn, one of Elliott’s students, Jean-Martin Fortier, learned deeply and proved the small scale business viability of market farming in Quebec. He published the best seller The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming.
Learn deeply from the best teachers you can find, and know you will be passing these skills on into the future. The future will need your advice. Small scale community food production is an essential like skill, now and for the future of humanity.