Jan 9, 2012
Notes from Your Farmer


When I am out on pasture feeding whey and milk to the pigs, which I love doing, I have a lot of time to think.
Yesterday I was working close to I street which created interactive moments with those driving by. Some were in cars, some were riding bikes and some were walking. Some waved, yelled a hello and some stopped to talk. Some asked to help!

As the afternoon wore on I began thinking about how nice it was to have my neighbors stop to say hello and talk. Then I thought about how that was when I was a kid. It gave a sense of support, safety, appreciation and overall lessoning of anxiety for me. People are mostly kind.

So why didn’t I feel that before we started farming? I thought about that most of the evening and realize that it has to do with the architecture of our lives. Most of us get up in the am, go into our garage, get into a car and drive through traffic that is anything but relaxing. We get to our job and at the end of the day we get back in the car, back on the road, now we are tired with little patience, and hit traffic again. Once we get home we drive into the garage, walk into the house and never see our neighbors.

We are secluded by design.

In the old days, we walked to school with our friends from next door. Our parents had BBQ in the backyard and the neighbors joined with parts of the meal. We knew who was getting married, who was expecting a baby, who was sick or had died. Parents offered help to each other. Whether it was painting a house or moving a freezer. Knowledge was shared from life experience. Older parents helped new parents. Grandparents helped busy parents. People that had a pool invited those kids to play that didn’t.

Why these memories make me smile is the comfort these communities created. We were not alone and we had support. We had expectations also. Get out of line as a kid and all the parents would know and that was enough to stop us from doing things kids weren’t supposed to do. Parents had a code they discussed with each other and we had a many sets of eyes watching. They also had a code they lived by. And the expectations of how they showed up in the world created a sense of comfort and safety. We expected our parents to behave in the community a certain way and for the most part they did.

That way of being is not lost for us today. It is waiting for us to notice it. It is as simple as a wave of your hand and a smile. An invitation to have an interaction as simple as “How’s it going”? Leadership begins with they who trust first…the results are astonishing…

Your farmer…Tara Smith