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Agri-CULTURE




Culture is an incredibly complex thing. It is almost impossible to define. This is in part because it contains so many things. It is food, but also clothes, but also music, but also religion, but also architecture but also... the list goes on and on.


It is complicated because it is almost everything, and yet somehow it is just one thing.


Perhaps then it is a kind of thread. A Thread that runs from the top to the bottom of a value system. Maybe it isn't a single thing but a linkage between all the things. The thing behind the things that keeps the things connected.


One way of looking into a thing is to look at the history of the language that incapsulates it. In this case, the word is is "culture" and it has a lot of roots (which is a pun if you keep reading). I won't flesh out all the linguistic roots of the word here. If you want to do that yourself you can. But I will say that the word is clearly linked to "growing" and "agriculture" and "cultivation".


I am not a linguist or an anthropologist. But I am in the business of growing things and cultivating the land and agriculture. So if you ask me, then I am in the business of culture building.


Earlier on I said that "culture" seemed to be everything and nothing. Or more precisely I said it seemed to be somehow everything and just one thing at the same time. Perhaps then we could use the image of a wheel. The hub of a wheel shares that nature in that it is only a part of the wheel and yet it also touches and relates and activates every part of the wheel. Everything and yet one thing. If we seek further we can focus our attention on the actual axis of the wheel which a very invisible and theoretical point within the hub around which everything else turns. Mystery within mystery. Everything and yet nothing.


Every spring I wrestle with why I farm. Apparently I should know why we farm if I am ever going to properly market our farm. They say you should "know your why". But sometimes that eludes me. But it eludes me less because I have no clue why I am farming and more because it often seems like everything is a reason to farm.


Do we farm to make money? Yes and no.

Do we farm for the fun of it? Yes and no.

Do we farm because the food tastes good? Yes and no.

Do we farm for the land's sake. Yes and no.

Do we farm for the people's sake? Yes and no.

Do we farm because we are foolish and idealistic? Yes and no.

Do we farm because we have hope? Yes and no.

Do we farm because we've lost hope? Yes and no.


Is what we do a creative act? Or is it a utilitarian act? Or a merciful act? Or a selfish act? Or a conservative act? Or a progressive act?


All I can say when I start to think about these things is that I often don't feel at ease in this world or in our current "culture". But somehow, farming seems to be good.


And it also often surprises me that so many other people think it is good. And not just one group of people, but almost everyone. People who are wildly different and can't seem to agree on anything seem to agree that a small farm growing healthy food is a good thing.


And so I wonder: Perhaps we are farming to rebuild culture. Perhaps we are doing the one thing that can bring all the things together. And perhaps our current modern culture is so divided and contentious and erratic and stressed and anxious because too few people are tending to the thing that unites. Perhaps the culture is failing because the thing that was the common thread is hardly common to all...


But maybe I am biased because I am a farmer. Perhaps the thread that holds it together is something more important like God or Truth.


But farming is hidden right there in the roots of the word...






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