Blown Away by Biodiversity

October 25, 2016

I seriously cannot believe that it is only a couple months and a couple weeks away from the end of the year.  Winter is creeping up on us and the days are about to shorten.  We have been trying to prepare our best for the cows, chickens and ourselves as winter is approaching.  Thankfully we will not have to winterize the pig operation as we will have processed all the pigs by the years end.  It will be nice to scale back for the winter months and spend quality time with Willow, my precious independent little angel.

Over the last couple of weeks I have jumped into researching and planning for the new orchard site.  For the most part, I have referenced the Permaculture Design Manual by Bill Mollison quite a bit as well as the Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips.  Although both texts are like school books, they are little vaults of knowledge and virtue, especially related to agriculture/permaculture and agroforestry.  If you ever have the itch to plant some fruit or nut trees, SCRATCH IT!!  Start with the Holistic Orchard, then get to planting.  Michael Phillips does an awesome job of explaining the importance of being a steward of the interdependent relationships of the biology in your ecosystems.  Through his writings he reminds us about how the health of every relationship in these systems are all affected by the health of all the others working around it.

“Human health is a function of plant health, which is a function of soil health, which in turn is function of fungal health.” - Michael Phillips

I love to read stuff like this because it is a reminder for myself internally that every decision I make here will affect any other piece of the farm or operation.  It really helps broaden my scope of view mentally and physically in my day to day.  I think it is very easy to get tunnel vision with the way society operates nowadays and tunnel vision directly hinders the situational awareness of anyone throughout the day.  Farming requires out-of-box thinking all day long. 

We strive to produce the highest quality food you can find locally.  Before I got into farming, I studied dietetics and nutrition.  I wanted to get to the source of food production because I felt worthless as a dietitian or nutritionist trying to counsel folks on how to eat healthy.  One day I realized that there was hardly any food around that truly had any health benefits to it.  For the most part, foods sold in the grocery stores are produced in the quantity model, not the quality model.  Do we really know what is healthy in this day in age?  I think that over the past several decades, lies have been compounded onto lies about health and nutrition.  Now look at sky rocketed levels of obesity and heart related illnesses since the 1950’s.  It is really tough to get the truth about health.  I am personally drawn to permaculture food production because of the holistic component of food production and the connectedness that we have with Nature and the ecosystems we live in.  It is quite amazing. 

I want to end this week with another snippet from the Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips.  It just sums up what I mentioned this week about health and nutrition.  Have a fantastic week, health and blessings to all.

“Then there’s that often overlooked link between nutrition and our own health.  Far too many doctors, and certainly far too many modern farmers, simply don’t reckon that the quality of what goes in determines the quality of what becomes.  Vitamins and minerals in the foods we eat are the building blocks of healthy bodies.  Real food is nutrient-dense in that meat, vegetables, grains, and fruit - nurtured with compost and biologically reared - contain the full and balanced nutrition that our bodies require to maintain healthy function.  Humans evolved eating fruits and nuts and green plants and the occasional mastodon.  None of these foods was shortchanged nutritionally; every bite had fantastic flavor and substance.  Why we accept anything less in modern-day fare is a result of effective advertising coupled with an outright loss of species intelligence.  You reclaim your nutritional birthright when you plant that first pie cherry tree.  How you grow that fruit in turn determines the nutrient density of your family’s own health prospects.” - Michael Phillips, Holistic Orchard

Angela Bowen

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