Reframe The Farm And The Frontier
An urban farm is a unique beast. Far from easy or cheap, you have to reframe the aspects you consider “farm” and “costs”. To that extent the best analog I have for this is the frontier. At first it seems counterintuitive that frontier would be the same category as building a farm in the middle of a modern city. There are many similarities such as I didn’t expect my truck to get totaled by a reckless hit and run, or to encounter new pathogens. Regardless, I still need to keep on target, even when the frontier around me bites back. This is why it tracks.
Think about everything you know about the “frontier”:
- Isolated space
- No readily available outside resources
- Limited tools and experience
- Unknown threats and challenges
- High risk and dangerous environments
- Must handle failure with grace
- Find alternative routes to success
This is my frontier . That is to say seven years ago I knew nothing about ecosystems biologic interoperability and sustainability. Granted, I was a novice. and admittedly, I had to teach myself what I needed to so as not to kill myself building this out. Along the way I chose to find way to allow myself to learn from myself and learn from others.
I like to say I have a PhD in YouTube University, but it’s more than that. It’s also being curious and resilient when things fail – sometimes spectacularly.
Reframe All Of It: Poetry, Poverty, Pride and Perspective
On the surface it might seem disingenuous to compare my privileges and position – as well as my location – to settlers who struggled to create a life out of nothing. I mean no such insult. For the purposes of this analogy, I crafted a functioning farm wholesale from an abandoned plot of land. This was an act of defiance and hope. I was hoping for the best from this field of grass furthermore, I also love the reference to Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
Yes, I can get into a car or a truck and drive to the suburbs and buy soil, food, feather pillows. But it is a crazy act of faith to make as much of your own as you tiny plot of land will safely (but not always affordably) allow. The first big loss will be your pride. The second will be your comfortable life. The third will be your fear; and that is alright. Fear is the mind killer, after all.
Making your own as much as is technologically and humanly possible is an active process of destroying fear and embracing hope.
That to me is the most badass frontier statement there is. Surrounded by access, comfort, city, and chaos, I choose life, curiosity, systems, and peace. I am my own frontier, come what may. I will press on with this broken body and this broken truck, and all the broken dreams. Just like those settlers, I must. As a result I demand more and I am willing to create it from nothing.
Postscript: The truck has been repaired. Admittedly it was expensive and out of pocket, but as I sit here listening to “Come My Way” on YouTube I realize that it was inevitable that I would fix it. I will not quit.