Human beings share experiences with one another; it is an essential psychological process that allows us as a people to continue our evolution in the world. In these uncertain times, humans must reconnect across the divide that an industrialized global economy is creating. We have in a sense already begun to notice this reactionary movement that has gained momentum by promoting a sustainable, organic food system. This movement has enabled the farmer and his crop to reconnect into his local food web, and with the local consumer of his food.
We, as the consumer of this local food, gain vital knowledge by understanding that food is not created in the supermarket but in the soil, and thus a land ethic in sustainability is formulated. We profit when a sustainable agricultural practice is used to ensure food for not only our generation but also for our kids and grandkids. We have to be involved though; we must be active in our pursuit of this vision because it has been proven time and time again that our elected representatives are unable to do so.
Stuart Findley is one of these visionaries, and I met him on a Saturday in spring to discuss his attitudes on life, the Corrales Growers’ Market community, and of course his beautiful, organic farm located in the Northern Bosque in Corrales, NM. Stuart is a grizzled veteran of the sustainable farming movement in Corrales, and some might say it runs in his blood. After taking a 30 year hiatus to fly C-147s internationally from Bangkok to Afghanistan, Stuart decided to reclaim his yard from the weeds and rejoin the Corrales Growers’ Market to partake in the budding organic food movement here in the Southwest.
Luckily for Findley and other Corrales farmers, the zoning of Corrales, which only allows for commercial businesses along the main road, creates the perfect environment for farmers to maintain land for farming in the middle of the urban sprawl of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Because of this, the Corrales Growers’ Market that Stuart sells his goods at is one of the larger farmer markets in the region and attracts a variety of vendors and customers. In the 2013 summer and autumn season, there were over 60 vendors that would show up at the Sunday markets.
Findley Farms was fully ready for the Spring 2014 season and was a bonanza of peas, beans, asparagus, oregano, tomatoes, carrots, rhubarb and other delicious vegetables, each in a different stage of growth or planting, some still even in their starting sets. The design of the landscape was kept simple. The soil had been freshly turned with cow manure and was rich with nitrogen when I arrived. Alongside this garden was located a small orchard with a variety of apples, apricots, and pears.
I interviewed Stuart hoping to find out more about why he is so interested in being a part of the sustainable movement here in Corrales. Stuart himself is an odd mix of the old cowboy bravado mixed with a healthy liberal background; he staunchly believes the sustainable farmer is the true hero in America. His answers echo his ideology but he emphasized several points about his personal experiences with sustainable agriculture. Findley feels that the key to a sustainable future in the United States lays in citizen knowledge of the dangers that industrial farming practices pose to the environment and our health. A grassroots movement of independent organic farmers is the only way to engage the community and consumer in healthier habits.
Lessons can be learned by reaching out to our community and finding integral people who provide the most vital sustenance to us. We can encourage our local representatives to engage in this healthy dialogue by contacting them by letter or email; you just have to find out who represents you in your district. There are also several different sites that can both increase your knowledge of agricultural issues and also give you the opportunity to volunteer. Change happens when the citizens of the community become involved in the issues that are affecting them.
-Posted by Felipe