“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”Aldo Leopold
This quote resonated deep inside me. In a time where many struggle to discover their purpose, I saw my own with great clarity: I needed to return to the land or face complete loss of self. The danger of not owning a farm was not a physical one, but a spiritual danger. As dramatic as that sounds it’s true in all sense of truth.
Something inside me demanded I take action. At first, I tried to ignore it, blaming some kind of flaw in my character. Should I not, as so many self-help and inspirational thought leaders claim – first find contentment with my existing situation? At the time I lived in the suburbs of Seattle, along with my husband and dog. I was steadily climbing the corporate ladder. We lived in relative comfort. We had the benefit of options. By all accounts, I should be happy and thriving. Yet. Yet, something was missing.
But what, exactly was the question. And this sense of void was growing. It built strength, getting deeper and darker. What do you want!? I started to reflect on what generated joy and contentment inside. I knew I loved my husband and my dog and I enjoyed working with my hands and felt most content at the end of a day of hard work. Even more so, I felt satisfaction and a sense of purpose when I could see and feel the results. Working up a frenzy on the computer just didn’t do it.
I also knew I love nature. The sights and sounds and the little things like buzzing bees on an artichoke flower. I love the smell of soil and watching the little birds twit from branch to branch. Things began to click. I don’t want to just observe nature, I want to to be a part of it!
The Danger of Not Owning a Farm
Thinking about the state of society today, I wonder how many humans share this absence of purpose? I would wager many. We’ve lost connection to both each other and the land beneath or feet. We shop at the grocery store without much thought about where exactly the food comes from. We turn on our thermostats without regards to what fuels the heat we feel. The connection between us and nature has been weakening at an alarming rate. To the point where people turn to actions like buying a new Tesla to gain moral superiority rather than fixing and reusing their old car. They can’t see past the 2D argument that claims an electric car is more “sustainable” than a gas -powered one. They stop there.
But if we broaden our scope and look at the situation from all angles, new considerations enter the picture. That new car had to be manufactured – using an incredible amount of resources and energy. Where did the metal come from? The plastic for the interior? The electronics to drive that giant screen?. And that electricity for “fuel” must still be sourced from somewhere – it doesn’t just *poof* appear at the end of the charging cable.
And then at end-of-life, where does that toxic battery go? What of the old car? What happens to it? Did you add it to the landfill, or did you sell it so someone? Meaning it still continues to be part of the broader ecosystem. This is what Leopold means. The spiritual danger in not owning a farm is that we no longer know how to trace things back to the true source. Both physical and spiritual.
But the worst part is that very quickly that feeling of moral superiority that drove us to purchase that care in the first place evaporates. And we are left, once again, empty. Still, ultimately, just driving a car.
This is why my husband and I founded Humblebee Farms. We both realized the path back to true purpose and joy was going back to the land. Back to the source. And we are not alone.
The Journey Back
The path is not an easy one. We’ve lost much knowledge and traditions over the past 100 years and regaining it is more often than not extremely difficult. Since landing here a little over two years ago we have been working at break-neck speeds trying to both learn and do at the same time. Mistake are made. Plans change. And that’s ok. Every day the void that has plagued me fills up a bit more. It’s amazing how good it can feel to shovel goat shit and then later see it transformed into the most amazing compost. That compost, in turn, feeds the soil which nurtures our crops and results in amazing food and flowers. Those flowers support the bees. Those bees make our honey. And the big wheel of life keeps turning.
It’s with this sense of reverence that we do our work to nurture and support the land so that it will nurture and support us. In the coming months there will be changes on this website. For one, it will cease to simply be a blog as we start to transform from simple homestead into an active farm. I also plan to add a new section for a daily journal. So often I don’t post because of the amount of time and effort needed. The journal will let me share in tidbits as we experience our own path to farming. We hope you find some inspiration for your own journey.