Warrior

Being a Kung Fu Farmer is being a Warrior. A Warrior is a person that walks on the Warrior’s Path.

The Warrior’s Path leads one through this brief life with a set of principles and a sense of place within space and time.

The simple overarching reality of our human lifespans is that we are born, we live a life that is full of some wonderful things and some terrible things, characterized by joys and pains, and then after all is said and done, we die. We decay into the ground or are burned up into ash.

I found myself on the Warrior’s Path after some intense difficulties and struggles. It had been years since I was enlightened by my friend’s suicide. I found myself dealing with other losses in my life, and problems I had to overcome. I felt that, essentially, if I didn’t muster the strength within myself to keep going over these bumps in the road, I would lose the momentum that came from enlightenment’s first push down it. I would dissolve into something else, a different person who just lived a life with no meaning, no passion, joi de vivre.

I had developed my own personal skills and philosophies through trial and error over the course of my entire life, and everything I had ever learned about the techniques and theory of being a human being on this earth coalesced into this concept – the Warrior’s Path. It was like the spine of my life  – what everything else in the body depends on.

I found that the Warrior’s Path helped me to muster the inner strength and courage I needed to get through those times – and I made it through with minimal scars. Amazingly enough I found a richer life than I could have imagined and even true love on the other side of the rainbow. I also found that I had become a farmer. As I dived headlong into the world of farming I relied on the Warrior’s Path to get me past so many of the hurdles that faced me in the beginning. It seemed that I faced a battle around every corner, and after the battles were fought some of my strength was lost. I felt like I was beginning to lose that inner vitality that I had been so reliant on. This was not a good feeling. For me, this was the feeling of being off the Warrior’s Path – I couldn’t find myself in time or space, and my principles seemed hollow.

I needed to find the path again. Luckily over the years I had built a sort of internal GPS system to guide me back on track. The goal of the Kung Fu Farmer is to continue forward on the Warrior’s Path. The Kung Fu Farmer is 100% present in the moment, able to do what needs to be done – which, as a farmer, is everything.

Life is very difficult at times. Being a Warrior means not letting Fear guide your every move. Cultivating awareness allows us to choose our steps wisely, and that is all, in the end, we can do.

Linear actuality

A couple thoughts from way back in May 2014:

Linear design seems to be the only possible option in a production system, either agricultural or industrial.

One task or item after another must be performed in a linear sequence down a linear path in order to increase production. The higher production levels grow in a system,  the better their economic efficiencies become.

This all seems straightforward. But economic and ecologic systems are not always in accordance. An economical benefit can demonstrably decrease the ecological productivity of a landscape, albeit productivity that we may not be able to liquidate into a cash flow.

If that sounds somewhat heartless, then perhaps  it is. If we were to place value on ecological capital, we may have to reconfigure our whole accounting. But in social reality in which we live, we have to play the game according to the rules of the private economy, or else delve into other sources of funding, like the government, non-profits,  or private investors.

In any case, a linear system seems to be the one type of system with a proven track record. It is the type of system that everyone understands: The type that will get funded, the type of that will profit most.

And to add to that now, at 5:30 AM on January 22, 2015:

Is it possible to step outside the linear paradigm, can we build systems in mosaics, whether it be wild patches or even precise chaos? I am fascinated by this concept, because it seems so contrary to the basic agricultural process.

 

The Beginning of My Journey

This is something I wrote on Myspace in 2006. It is really the beginning of this journey I find myself on now. I share this to expand the openness which I feel is the only real answer to this life we each have. This was an exploration of my feelings in the waves of searching that arose when one of my best friends killed herself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is the end
Does anybody read this?

Maybe a few words here about my last month or so.

I turned 28 on the 28th of August. Old man. I gave up on some long-held idealistic dreams, I gave up smoking, I quit my job, and I’m re-evaluting my life and how I’ve lived it up until now. I know a major change is needed, I know I’ve overlooked some major parts of who I am. I have been too irresponsible.

Life is a dream. But even in a dream we can be hurt, be sad, eat, make love, fly. We must consider everything we do as transitory, like a stream. I realize I was all dammed up, by emotional and physical situations. Now I need to flow. A stream knows where it must go, it follows the lay of the land and gravity. I need to follow my dreams, down into the ocean of nirvana.

When the beautiful and wonderful Sunshine killed herself, I realized that I am alive. I realized that each second of my mortality was slowly ticking away while I watched as if I was a bystander. For years I have been this way, and now I am approaching 30. Thoughts begin to convalesce, and the fractured figments of my imagination begin to melt together into a giant mirror. I stared into my own eyes and saw nothing.

When I die and go deep into that great night, I will have accomplished nothing.

I felt sad about this. But I also felt happy about some of the memories I have with friends and loved ones. I realized that my life, any sentient beings existence, is nothing if not defined by our relationships, our webs, our networks of connection. All life is dependent on all life. There is no individual existence in this morass of relationships that isn’t defined by it’s dependency on an infinitude of individuals. In other words, the mirror that reflected me exploded into trillions of shards of mirror that exploded into trillions of shards of mirrors, and I dissolved.

But losing my ego only strengthened my spirit.

If there is one thing that Sunshine would want me or you to do in our lives, it would be to be happy, to be free, and to fulfill our dreams. I don’t think many of us know how to start fulfilling our dreams, or ourselves. We mistake our egos many desires for real peace or happiness, but in the end it is the ego that causes us the real pain and sadness. Without the ego to boss us around, we can see what is real and what is not. From the moment we are born, we are trained to feed the ego. When the ego sees your spirit soar free it becomes jealous and begins to make demands and create lists for you. Fuck the ego, is what I say.

In any case, I will spend the seconds I have left living with the spark of life in my guts learning to breathe and searching for my path. In practical terms, I may have to take an unpleasant job or go back to school to find my path. I may have to leave everything I know and disappear into the woods, or join a monastery. I may have to learn a vocation, and have a family. I don’t know. But now I know why so many religions talk about faith. Without faith, it is hard to continue on sometimes. Maybe Sunshine lost all her faith in the future, and maybe that is why she decided to stop trudging forward. I know damn well how she felt. We were in the same boat; no college degree, in crappy service jobs, trapped in a town. She gave up. It is tempting to people like us. We have no prospects in this society. And yet she would always remind me that she thought I could do anything.

“I hope that you know that you are amazing to me. I talk about you a lot because you are oozing with talent, and I truely believe that you could be anything, do anything, but you choose to be you and that I respect more than anything else,” She wrote in her last email to me.

Can I do anything? I ask myself this constantly. Can I be what I want to be, can I be what Sunshine thought I could be, can I be what my girlfriend thinks I should be, or my parents, or you? The questions rip through my heart until I realize I am what I am, but what do I want to do?

Life doesn’t give you time to catch your breathe. We exist as a complex network of love and pain and suffering and joy. We eat or are eaten. We run and fall and run again. We lose ones we love and we can’t even tell them about the pain it caused us. We can’t even tell anyone, because no one can really know what it’s like inside our heads. But everyone lives inside their heads, we all are alone inside ourselves but are connected to eachother by that very fact.

Thank you for your support and please contact me if you feel the need to talk or take a walk or anything. I’ll be around.

Niches

We have a lack of infrastructure in place to support small scale farm operations. There is no safety net or crop insurance that applies to a small farmer who perhaps raises a dozen different crops or has a multi-species grazing plan and value-added operation. But that is okay, that is how it should be for pioneers such as ourselves.

We don’t need endless hand outs to get things done, in fact any handouts at all will make us weaker and slower to act. We become better operators by going through the fires of hell so that we can shine like angels. We don’t need these things, but we really need each other.

We need the support of fellow farmers of course, but we really need the support of our fellow human beings more then anything else. Commiserating with fellow farmers can help us blow off steam but our businesses are built by focusing laserlike on our operations in order to provide the best products & service to our customers. Our fellow farmers, in the end, are an incredible support network, but they won’t make or break our businesses. Only we can do that.

There are no riches that comes to us like in a fairy tale, we have to go out and get them if we want them. Cinderalla stories are fiction, and what the real world teaches us is that the only way we can achieve anything is to reach out for it. Take that one step that begins it all.

We have a huge dearth of supportive roles in our small scale farming endeavors. What relationships do we need to cultivate in order to create a professional image of this incredible world of small farming?

  • Computer experts – We need graphic designers, website developers, and networking pros
  • Financial experts – We need to either become good accountants or hire it our. We also need lenders and tax preparation people.
  • Marketing – Either we create our own brands or we consolidate with other farms to create a strong brand. We have to choose one or the other, and we need real relationships with folks who have PR and advertising skills. We need communicators and advocates.
  • Photographers/Writers – These are the people who will create the story of the regenerative agriculture economy.
  • Commercial Kitchens Space – Value-added everything is the future, we need access to all the options we can get.
  • Butchers and Packers – We need to funnel our products through the appropriate regulatory channels and get them on the shelves of grocery stores or in the farmers market or online. Products sitting around in storage increase the farm liabilities.
  • Everything else that goes with running a business, as well as growing food. Endless opportunities are right there in front of your face.

Perhaps you have a passion for farm fresh foods and the beauty and ideals of farming,  but have huge skills with one of the above and do not want to farm yourself. That is awesome because we as farmers really need you in these other roles – Come to us with discounted prices and we will give you a chance. Work with a few farmers and you may end making a living with us, co-creating this rich and rewarding sector of the new economy. You can contact me if you have a service mentioned above and I will try to connect you with someone who needs it. Folks, all of this has to happen right now, there is no waiting until the right time.