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The Land's Memory
Modelling Nature in adapting to change
This year has been wet with many more persistent showers than normal. Our average precipitation is 15 inches per year. We got 11 inches in June. The native prairies are green and bursting with flowers at a time when they would usually be brown.
Our production field has undergone a substantial transformation because of the moisture. Cultivated land is yielding wetland plant species instead of vegetables and their associated weeds. Grasses, usually found near the water's edge in marshes now dominate this section of the farm. A duckweed understory thrives in the standing water between rows of onions. Cattails and cottonwood trees are sprouting from the saturated soil.
These plants are a clear indication of the natural landscape. The bottom corner of our farm wants to be and has been a wetland.
Within in the span of a couple months and unprecedented rainfall, nature filled the niche. While spinach drowned, old seeds were sprouting from the muck. A fresh ecosystem was ready to take hold to fill the fertile void.
The land has memory. A deep memory when the terrain was wild and free of cultivated rows. Memory stored in dormant seeds waiting for the right conditions to sprout. When was this ground last a wetland? Not within the last thirty years. For how long had it been a wetland before becoming pasture? 100 years? 500? 1,000?
Humans are quick to point blame, especially at climate change, when intense weather conditions cause problems. It is clear in this case the land is simply returning to a natural state.
Modern life has left people challenged by seamless adaptation. Our lives are built around perceived abundance, comfort, and security. Huge industries feed and cloth the masses, as people fill their time engaged in singular careers. We have outsourced the ancient skills of making clothing, fixing houses, growing food, raising children to become dependent on the status quo.
Life, at least where I live, has become cultivated and tame like the rows in a tilled filled. Only remnants of our wild past remain as the modern age continues to consolidate into uniformity.
Our lives have become byproducts of massive scale cultivation, where every facet of existence has been brought into the assembly line of production. This process has destroyed the forests, wetlands, and prairies around and within us.
Yet, like this wetland, somewhere in our bodies seeds of unique resilience exist, waiting for the right conditions to flourish. Those seeds contain our humanity from a time when we relied on our local community to breathe beauty into our daily lives.
The land is resilient. We are resilient, descending from those who not only survived but thrived under sometimes harsh conditions. Engaging with local communities, makers, artisans, farmers, will help to foster new and beautiful growth. Every time we decide to stay present and not seek comfort in far away services like TV, substances, or mass produced food we start to cultivate a wild landscape within each one of us.
We will continue to contemplate a path forward through the wetland of our being, searching to find a balance between Nature and making a capitalist living. I hope you do the same.
Poudre Farm Hop is coming to Folks Farm this Wednesday from 4-6pm. Come out and enjoying Hoka Hey Kitchens as they explore new cuisines, gather for a farm tour, and mingle with advocates of local agriculture.
Farm Store Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10-6, Saturday and Sunday 10-4
What is stocked in the Farm Store?
Greens- Hearts and Souls Salad Mix, Malbar Spinach, kale, chard, collards, herbs (mint, basil ((Italian, Thai, Tulsi)), parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, lemon balm, peppermint,
Roots- Turnips, beets, spring and red onions, kohlrabi, carrots
Fruits- cherry and heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, apricots, peaches,
Local Products- KREAM Kimchi, Crown Mushrooms, Bread Chic Sourdough, Fox Den Coffee, Bee Squared Honey (from the farm), What a Yolk Pastured Eggs