|I hardly know where to begin. I am so far behind on all the wildly magical things going on in our life that this Summer has somehow morphed into Fall. I can hardly recall a year that has gone so quickly in my adult life.|
I’ve always said I could be a professional student if only I was independently wealthy. Well, We’re still not independently wealthy, but we have somehow begun building a life that is allowing me to explore my passions and get paid. I pinch myself occasionally. Is this really me, getting to do this?
Pharmacy has been good to me ya’ll, but it’s no walk in the park. There is a reason it’s listed among the Top 10 Professions most likely to commit suicide. It’s a high stress job with long hours and demands 100% perfection. No surprise that the burnout rate is also remarkable. I am tremendously blessed with a husband who enjoys his job and has encouraged me to pursue what pulls at my heart. It is a gift he has given me this year… and a timely one at that!
At the end of September, I was fortunate enough to attend The 2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference. Blessedly, this national event was held in nearby McKinney, Texas.
FARFA…. Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance is a national organization supporting independent family farmers. It works to protect a healthy and productive food supply for American consumers. FARFA is an advocate for independent farmers, ranchers, livestock owners, and homesteaders, as well as the consumers who support them.
Ya’ll, you’d hardly think this organization would be necessary. We all need food and farmers. Shouldn’t it be easy to farm enough nutritious food to feed our huddled masses? Let these statistics sink in:
*The average age of a farmer in the United States is 65 (in Texas it’s 58)
*Soil depletion (of minerals) and hybridization of seeds has decreased the nutritional value of commercial fruits and vegetables by 50-70%.
*The GDP spent on healthcare used to be 2.5%. It is now a whopping 18%, due largely to quality of food.
*Farmers too rank in the Top 10 Professions most likely to commit suicide.
*Non-sustainable farming practices expose farmers and farm families to a tremendous amount of chemicals including (but not limited to) pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Farmers have an elevated risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and soft tissue sarcoma. They also have higher rates of brain cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and various Auto Immune Disorders.
This AMAZING Conference covered so many facets of Farm to Table Education. There were so many education opportunities, but not nearly enough time to attend each session. I settled on those that pertained directly to our farm and the direction we are headed.
*Q&A Session on Cooperatives
*Growing sustainable grains (not surprisingly, Einkorn Wheat was a large part of this discussion… one of the reasons Young Living remains committed to producing healthy grain options for its members)
*Activating your Microbiota for Health (So excited to see this topic offered at a farm conference!!) This is truly one of the most important things we can do to be healthy, and it is the reason I offer monthly Gut Health Classes .
*Opportunities for Military Veterans and Young Farmers. Did you know that there are really some amazing opportunities offered to those who want to farm but have no idea how or where to start? There are even opportunities (in the form of grants, education, low interest loans, and equipment for disabled farmers) available thru various programs. Healing (both emotional and physical) occurs when you connect with the earth. This is not some new age mumbo jumbo…. this is real scientific fact.
*Fermentation techniques taught by the incredible Nancy Falster of Falster Farms. Gut health again!!! I LOVE IT! Fermented foods were incorporated into the food supply for thousands of years in every single culture. Modern culture had nearly eliminated it, to the detriment of our gut health… I hope it’s making a comeback!
*Alternative revenue streams for small farmers. This falls right into our vision for our farm. It’s too early to reveal what is in my heart, but this topic was so interesting and helpful. City folk are simply craving connection with their food and with nature. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve had people come thru our gates and tell us they experience a type of peace (on our farm) they don’t normally feel in their day to day lives.
*Sustainable home gardening. I felt like we are ahead of the curveball on this topic. We are the king and queen of composting, and are figuring out what works for organic pest control around here.
*20 other topics ranging from Legislative policy to Home Brewing and Distilling.
I almost forgot… the most amazing Farm to Table dinner too. This was our first, but it won’t be our last. Dinner for about 150 people at Pure Land Organic Farm , catered by the incredible sustainably (and locally) sourced ingredient restaurant in McKinney: Harvest.
Connecting people with a common bond. Farmers, Ranchers, Nutritionists, Chefs, Sociologists and Anthropologists, Beekeepers, Backyard gardeners with a vision, Inner City gardeners with a plan for their community. This event paid no heed to political affiliation, ethnicity, age, or religious beliefs. Our goal is the same. To learn. To provide sustainable nutritious food for the body, mind, and soul to all walks of life. Breaking bread together never tasted so good.
These past two weeks have been very different for our household. I am the poster child homebody. I get homesick after about 4 days away from my refuge. I am grounded and in harmony with my ‘feeps’ (farm peeps), and start to feel off when I’m gone for too long. Back in January, Charlie and I made the decision to cut back my hours at the pharmacy to 20hrs/week. I was killing myself trying to get everything done on the farm, educate others on holistic wellness, and work at the pharmacy. Something had to give…. either that or I was going to run out of steam. I was scared to death. It was the first time in my 25+ year career that I carried no benefits of my own. Our new routine took about 5 months to settle into but I finally got my groove, and I am loving every minute of it! My income from Young Living has enabled me to step out from behind the pharmacy counter and actually DO life the way it was meant to be done.
At the end of August, I took a whirlwind four day trip up to Iowa to teach a few wellness classes in person. Women’s health (as you know…. a particular passion of mine). General wellness. Non Toxic Skincare. It was a fabulous trip and I met so many neat ladies (and guys) in the midwest. I spent a few of my youngest years in Des Moines, and we managed a quick peek at the house I spent those years in. I have only fragments of memories of those years, but Iowa felt familiar to me.
While I was gone, tragedy struck our fair state. A monster by the name of Harvey came ashore and changed lives and landscapes forever. We live in very North Texas where tornadoes and hail storms are our nemesis, but this storm down south affected us all. We are a state that sticks together, and the pain is real. My heart goes out to everyone touched by the disaster, but especially those who are grieving the loss of life, including those of their pets and livestock. I know how it feels to love animals fiercely, and many people are grieving for losses beyond mere possessions. Heartbreaking.
Those 4 days I was gone, were just enough to make me homesick, and it made the storm in our home state nearly surreal. Charlie was a trooper… my sweet husband assumed the mantle of being ‘both of us’ for those 4 days and that is no small feat. We are both busy people, and time is already managed efficiently within each of our schedules.
The animals noticed my absence….. and a small seismic shift began occurring. I came home, but 3 days later I left again for another 4 days for a scheduled visit to Philly to see family. The seismic shift grew larger. Animals are creatures of habit….. but then again, aren’t we all (two legged and four legged alike)? I’ll speak more of this shift later this week…. it deserves a post of its own.
I miss home when I’m not here. The peace of it all. The solitude that isn’t really. I am surrounded by unconditional love. Even the sunlight showers me with affection. I am grounded in the Spirit. I feel God…. REALLY feel His presence when I am here in my place of peace. Dogs. Horses. Cows. The chicken’s excitement at my presence. The unseasonably cool morning breeze kissing my skin. Spiderwebs… as much as I hate running into them nearly every morning….. I appreciate their presence. Nature is nurturing my spirit.
I am a people watcher, and see people who have not yet found their place of peace. They are constantly searching for the next best thing to purchase or booking their next travel destination because they are restless in spirit and seeking something they’ve not yet found. Contentment of place, time, and circumstance. Groundedness. Peace.
I love that I get homesick. Crazy isn’t it? Crazy but true. In the grand scheme of 365 days, I am gone only a fraction of that. How blessed am I that home is my favorite place in all of the earth.