Farm-Based Edcuation Association Conference at Appleton Farms

In early April I attended The Farmer Project Seasons Workshop at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA. In two nights and two days of workshop programming, I experienced an outpouring of hospitality. I was well fed and cared for by gracious hosts, and it rubbed off on me that welcoming guests and sharing your space must be part of the farm-based education experience.

‘To inspire enthusiasm’ was one of the early intentions set out by the workshop leaders, and that they did. The general excitement they built got me stoked and ready for the nervous buzz of setting up our student crews.

Creating a productive framework, however, involves setting firm limits. Physical limits, safety parameters, and interpersonal limits are all important when pushing towards an abundant season.
A student group from Gann Academy in Waltham did a wonderful service week with us at the end of March and they brought with them this quote:

“We had entered an era of limitlessness, or the illusion thereof, and this in itself is a sort of wonder. My grandfather lived a life of limits, both suffered and strictly observed, in a world of limits. I learned much of that world from him and others, and then I changed; I entered the world of labor-saving machines of limitless cheap fossil fuel. It would take me years of reading, thought, and experience to learn again that in this world limits are not only inescapable but indispensable.” — Wendell Berry

It is within those ‘indispensable’ limits that we can create an expansive world, explore minutiae, be flexible, and fill in gaps. Providing adequate tools and reasonable space to fill and nurture is our task at hand.

The last thing I took from the conference was be a fun friend! It makes work more fun. Food system inequity, the need for service, and hungry households here in Massachusetts are heavy on our minds, so let’s make it joyful to work towards the harder stuff.

Ciao for now,

Geeta Bhasin