Monday, April 5, 2010

The Beginning

With thanks for some recent encouragement, I've finally decided to start the farm blog even though the name is not yet set in stone. You can look forward to an explanation of the name later on in the year. You can also look forward to a (hopefully) much more stylish and engaging layout in the future as well, but for now we'll stick to the basics.

And getting back to the basics is what Wahada Farm is all about. I strongly believe that simplicity is the key to a healthy and happy life. Unfortunately, simplicity is not so simple to achieve nowadays, and it will take a lot of work to get back to that ideal. So what's in store for the farm? My ultimate goal is to create a diverse, beyond-organic, no-till small farm that relies on (my own) hand labor as much as possible and on outside inputs as little as possible. It definitely won't happen overnight, and there will be a lot to learn because there aren't many people who farm that way. And it definitely isn't being championed as the way of the future.

Most of the technical literature available on agriculture is, I find, biased towards a factory-production system. The land is viewed as a blank slate to which inputs such as fertilizer and water are added and which under ideal circumstances would be quarantined from almost all contact with nature. Since the usual farm does not exist in a vacuum, pesticides and herbicides are considered necessary to obtain the maximum yield and the best-looking produce. What is going on inside the vegetables themselves (more on that in a future post) and the repercussions of the use of chemicals is rarely considered. Even the use of heavy machinery, considered a given for the modern farm, can cause problems with soil compaction, texture, microbial life, and erosion. Conventional organic production is a step in the right direction, but I still think it suffers from that same narrow, yield- and profit-focused worldview it has inherited from previous generations. I hope that with my farm I can eventually get back to a beginning uncomplicated by unnecessary labor and expense and in balance with nature. It's probably an overly idealistic vision, but I think it's worth a try.

I could still go on, but it's time to step off the soapbox for now, especially since this was my first post. I'll try to post much lighter fare most of the time if you'll indulge me in these heavier posts every once in a while.

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