Firstly, thanks to all of you who commented on my last post, This farming life. I never cease to be amazed at how you folks are my most supportive and generous cheering squad -- and we've never even met. I am so very grateful.
While going away is always stressful and it takes a few days for me to feel caught up, this time it feels a bit different; I've spent the first half of this week being buffeted between feelings of elation, inspiration and excitement and those of sheer terror, uncertainty and my constant companion, worry.
Going to the conference reinforced that I am on the right path. Simply sitting in a room filled with 300 other like-minded souls, people who believe passionately in producing food and fibre in ways that provides sustenance to their customers, their farms and their bank accounts, felt like a homecoming of sorts. It just felt right.
It was good to be reminded of why this way of life is important, whether you're a farmer or simply an eater. Our industrial food system is horribly broken, besieged by an overuse of hormones & antibiotics, poorly regulated slaughterhouse practices, rampant use of pesticides & herbicides, GMOs, and so on. Food which is supposed to nourish is making us sick; there were over 11 million reported cases of food-borne illness in Canada last year -- that's 1 in 3 people. And family farms are disappearing under the weight of commercial agriculture that promotes profits over people.
While I'll get into the details in future posts, the conference left me feeling inspired and motivated. Simply setting my intention feels like a big deal. I used to be was the kind of person who once I decided to do something, there was little to dissuade me from my path; throw caution to the wind, and all that. But as I've gotten older, it seems much scarier to take that first step, to even consider what I perceive as taking a risk -- I've got the kids, my marriage, my career, the mortgage and other financial matters to consider. Rightly so.
I'm content and happy in my roles as mother, wife and writer, but what excites and inspires me is making this place productive again -- and that's way outside my comfort zone. But would I regret not trying? Absolutely.
As for the specifics of what comes next -- I'm working on it. But I can tell you the first plan of action is to actually make a plan. I'm a great idea-generator and fabulous at winging it, but that's not a great way to start a business, or even run a homestead. It's very easy to over-extend myself and get swept away in ideas and inspiration but the best way to temper that is to start small, ask for help (ack!) and blog about it. Besides being a great source of support, you folks keep me honest. So please join me in the next stage of our 'simple living' adventure!