The one thing that I know to be true right now; we need each other.
We are all, each one of us, at the mercy of forces much bigger than anything we have control over. In the last 2 weeks, we have experienced weather events that brought us, and our dear friends, to our knees. Tornado force winds wrecked havoc here 2 weeks ago, the hail from the storm decimated crops all over central Oregon, flash flooding washed away hard earned organic matter on farms and created hard crust that stifled crops growth. Then 2 weeks later, another forceful thunderstorm rolled through flooding the fields again and lightening struck my dear friend’s horses. No, fucking, mercy.
We try, we try, we try.
Our intentions are pure! We are honest and hard working!
Sometimes I catch myself in the pits of pity and crying “Why!?”
But, of course, don’t we all find ourselves at the mercy of those moments with no good answer?
Mercy. If only we could bargain with the skies for Mercy.
When these climatic events happen, the fragility of our existence is amplified, and the importance of community is illuminated. We can’t get through this stuff without our community, without some mercy. So much is out of our hands, so when I think about what is actually in our control, it’s how we treat one another.
Capitalize on that which is actually in our control. Focus; what is the bigger work at hand? Stop tearing at each other. Take tangible action, but when emotions start to take over rationale for what the bigger fight is, when you catch yourself tearing into your peers, step back and see where you may afford someone Mercy.
I’m taking a break from social media land to focus with a clear mind on the work at hand. I’ll always be available to my customers via our direct email, and to my friends who need a hand or an ear, you know how to find me.
Before I disappear for a bit, I want to highlight this for Oregonians. This is a tangible action I was made aware of this week that I feel is worth sharing to ask any Oregonian reading this to look into. A petition to get this on the November ballot to ensure no gerrymandering in Oregon.
You can learn about this initiative and sign the petition here: https://www.peoplenotpoliticiansoregon.com/
There is some deep work that needs to be done, and there is Mercy I hope collectively we find. We really do need one another; no matter who you are, where you are, what money you have or don’t have, there are forces that will likely rock your world and you will need your community and mercy too.
I know this pandemic really has people scared, but have you forgotten about the greatest threat to our civilization right now? Volatile and escalating climate change? We are witnessing it. Erratic and volatile and unprecedented events are unfolding before our very eyes, because of the way we (collectively) humans are CHOOSING to live. Extractive industries, capitalistic priorities, lazy indifference, straight up ignorance to the realities of what your lifestyle is doing to the waters and soils and people who serve your lifestyle. Sorry, that’s direct and harsh, but damn I wish more people could buck up and take a good hard look at how their life of convenience will be the death of them as well.
This way of life that our American society has somehow become accustomed to, this way of consumerism built on a global supply chain, this way of EATING based on a global supply chain, it’s making our society the sickest perhaps of all time (in terms of chronic diseases) and it’s poisoning our soils and our waterways more than most can comprehend. There is no separating injustices done to our land, from the injustices we see affecting our people.
I have been thinking deeply on where my position is in this Resistance. But first, I had to identify for myself, what is this Resistance about?
To me, this Resistance is about identifying and dismantling systems which are harming the people of this Republic. I can’t think world wide right now, my approach has to be focused to the Republic we have (in theory) some tangible influence over. Systemic racism is rightfully in focus right now, and I am grateful this systemic sickness is being addressed. In my eyes and in my position, I see the great sickness of our food systems as directly tied to systems of oppression of BIPOC peoples. This is where I must ground myself in this Resistance, for my whole being is screaming for a revolution of agriculture and how we EAT.
Did you know, we have an economic structure which makes it more profitable to raise chicken on US soils, ship the chickens to China for processing, and ship the processed meats back to the USA to be sold as US Grown products for consumption? Are you kidding me? So many things about this are wrong environmentally, economically, and safety wise. Standards of safety are not the same in Chinese processing plants, how can we guarantee what is sent there is what is being sent back, who is paying the price for this sick model of consumption? I’ve read that an average wage in a USA processing plant is $11/hr, in China that wage is $1-$2/ hr.
I can’t claim to know for certain where/ how COVID-19 virus came to be, but one theory is that it began in unnatural meat raising conditions in China and transferred to humans. This system is literally killing us, yet the architecture of our economy and how we view food not only allows it but encourages these deadly systems. These food and economic systems are statistically killing more black people, that is fact. So to me, THIS is where I will stand and fight in this Resistance. I’m equipped to make tangible change, I want to show our community the way out of this systemic sickness, and I want our community here in Central Oregon to show another community how to rebuild their systems of health and resilience and self-reliance, and then I want that community to show another community how it can be done. Community by community, I want to fight for the liberation of all bodies and all minds from the systems of oppression via our food systems.
We need many, many more young farmers. We need many more small, regional meat processing facilities, we need legislators and lobbyists who are going to fight for rural America so young people see possibility in returning to the land and rebuilding our regional food systems. We need water advocates to help us preserve water usage in the West RESPONSIBLY and in line with our most urgent community needs (FOOD AND HEALTHY ECOSYSTEMS; NOT LAWNS, NOT GOLF COURSES, NOT NEEDLESS WATERING OF EMPTY PLOTS TO SATISFY THE STUPID COUNTY REGULATIONS TO KEEP YOUR AG TAX BREAK AS A WEALTHY LAND OWNER NOT FARMING… etc etc)
We need wealthy land owners to open up their lands and water rights to young farmers of all demographics, especially with an emphasis on those who have been historically forced off the land. If you are a land owner in Oregon, not utilizing your land and water for regional food systems or ecological restoration, please check out Oregon Farm Link, a resource put together by Friends of Family Farmers. Here they connect land owners with young farmers looking for land to farm. https://friendsoffamilyfarmers.org/farm-link/
We need a bounty of farmers and we need the non-profits like HDFFA working on food access programs to get our food into the hands of people living in food deserts just 15 miles from bountiful farmlands.
We need chefs and restaurant owners who can see the bigger picture of this Resistance, and get on board. STOP buying CAFO meat, join us in finding the solutions that are so possible if we join forces. Commit to a better tomorrow by changing your consumption practices TODAY. We need a bigger market for locally grown food in our community so young farmers see there is a way to make a living doing this here. Restaurants and grocery stores need to commit to regional food systems far more than they currently are. I have been and will continue working on this directly and tirelessly until Central Oregon is supporting a small army of farmers and regional processors.
Consolidation is what I fear right now; consolidation of food growers and processors, consolidation of POWER, consolidation of thoughts, consolidation of media… I can’t fight it all, I know where my place is in this Resistance and I will for the rest of my life, tell the story fighting the consolidation of our sick food systems, leading to an enslavement of our bodies and our minds.
So, after some weeks of feeling like I was spinning in a depressed cycle of hurt and bad news and dismay… I’m back with a fire and a knowing of where I stand in this Resistance. It’s here on this land doing what we have been trying to do and build. I must start here, I must dig in, I must be focused. So, this ramble has gotten me here to say, I’m taking a break from social media to quiet my mind, reclaim my full attention, to get some mental rest so I can get to work.
I hope you too can take a moment to reclaim your attention from the engineered news loops and social media barrage, and rest your mind so that you have the mental clarity to put that brain to work fully. As Tricia Hersey advocates via the Nap Ministry, rest is a form of resistance; the more you rest, the more you can Wake Up. In an interview recently Hersey proposes this question;
“What happens when people regain control over their attention, and begin to direct it again, together?”
When you are tired and depleted and malnourished, your brain isn’t working at full capability. You exist in a fog, you’re married to the foggy grind, too tired to think for yourself or even imagine a different reality. We can’t CREATE a different reality if we don’t first IMAGINE it. So please, get some rest, quiet your mind, and return to this Resistance with a clearer vision for where your place in it is.
Your future, our futures, depend on your mind, body and spirit being healthy and rested. Eat well, please stop waiting on a vaccine while still eating CAFO / industrial ag meats and vegan pea protein substitutes grown on a massive scale, in a poisoned, monocrop, industrial Ag scale. Wake up.
I meant to write softly today, but when I really let myself think about this stuff, my hackles come up. But even for you, Chic-Fil-A patrons (can’t stop won’t stop) I have Mercy. I hope you start to see the truth and reclaim your place on earth as steward.
My heart is hurting for the pain others are experiencing but my heart also knows, with community care, with rest and FOCUS, with a collective reimagining and dedication to dismantling these systems that are harming the people of our Republic, there is no hardship we can’t overcome when we are Together. Praying for some Mercy.
I want to dedicate this to my friends at Rainshadow Organics; Sarahlee, Ashanti, Chris, David and their teams. And to Yellowdog and Spud. I’m so sorry for the hardships as of late. You are family and you are teammates in this Resistance. We couldn’t do this without your support, and I pledge to always be here for you in the hard times, and to fully celebrate the good times together too.
I also want to honor a friend who passed, Hall Newbegin. A man seeped in love for place, for nature, for art and community. I thank Hall and Obi for being a part of my awakening in finding my place on this earth, as steward. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In dedication to a better tomorrow, together