The Metaphysical Upside of Working & Living on an Organic Farm – A guest post.

Liz asked me to do a “celebrity” post on her blog, which all of us at the farm admire very much. Here goes nothing:

There are many positive aspects to living & working on an Organic farm. The overwhelming pressure of the imminent decline of Americas food infrastructure, which offers no real hope to the middle & lower classes in terms of healthy, affordable food, is quickly pushed aside when one has 35 acres of naturally grown vegetables at their disposal. On top of that, there are the benefits that such a specific lifestyle offers ones health, mind & general well-being. Finally, such a lifestyle offers an almost constant reminder that you, as a farmer, are taking part in something that is intrinsically valuable to human beings, & instills a peace of mind that one could only grasp if they were to experience it first hand.

Having moved from central Massachusetts three months ago to a successful organic farm in the heart of the Hudson River Valley, I can tell you for certain that I am quickly becoming somebody I could never have imagined; that I am growing in ways I could have never foreseen. Coming from a poor neighborhood in the inner city of Worcester Massachusetts, a town that is both financially & culturally deprived, it would be an understatement to say that I was physically & mentally malnourished. After struggling to make the rent & find a sustainable source of inspiration for both my art & my spirit, I decided it was time to make a radical change; I was to move from the city I called home to a charming plot of land named after it’s owner, Keith Stewart.

The impetus behind the action was simple: chop the fat from my over-saturated lifestyle in order to gain insight in to exactly what it is that makes me so unwell; to define my character & wherewithal, & perhaps learn a thing or two about sustainable living along the way. The immediate changes went far beyond anything I could have imagined. In the city, I was lazy, melancholic, & a constant lover of sleeping in. Upon moving to the farm, I immediately found myself looking forward to the days ahead, I had found a use for myself.

I will run you through a typical day: the alarm sounds at my hangover around 6 a.m. Get up, brew a cup of coffee, eat a meager breakfast, feed my dog & have just enough time left to smoke a few cigarettes & read a chapter or two before heading into work at 8 o’clock. From that point on it’s no nonsense until one in the afternoon where we break for an hour lunch. We meet back up at two, then work four more hours until 6 where (if we are lucky) we head home. A farm is an ever-changing environment, alive in it’s own right & in constant need of attention. This means the aforementioned “end of the day” is never actually the end of the day. This busy schedule, ever persistent & encroaching on five days of my very short week, leaves little time for a social life, mental enrichment or much else. Were I still the person I spoke of earlier, I guarantee this would be mostly gripe. However, something profound has changed in me. I am even more productive in every aspect of my life, my writing has flourished & my moods have stabilized.

So what’s the point, you ask? Our traditional lifestyles, our colonial attachments to the familiar & accessible, are disconnecting us from the things that makes us who we are: beings of this earth. Adrift in a city, much like any other city, I found it impossible to connect with people, to learn much about myself, and to think coherently. At that point I was either unemployed or working no more than 30 hours a week. It is a lifestyle that no doubt breeds cynicism & an unhealthy detachment from the most beautiful parts of ourselves & those around us. The things we feel so strongly about surrounding ourselves with are walling us in; we need only get rid of them to see the world beyond. It is not hard work that is bringing us down, but the lifestyle that has been presented to us & pulled over our eyes in an attempt to make us complacent; to forget ourselves. On this farm, I have found a deep connection to the endless & unbound cycles of life, in all their many different forms, that is just beginning to blossom in me.

Also, here are some photographs & a poem. Hope that you like it.

the smoke
settles
in & around
our heavy
limbs, thick
as rich
red
wine
from the
decanter,
now empty
& drunk
in our guts
while sunday
passes
unholy,
unnoticed
still white
& secondhand;
smelling
astringent.
we lay tired
with sleep
on a worn
spring mattress,
windows
flung open
in a panic
lucid
& dreaming,
clouds somewhere
beyond the
ceiling,
the shingled
rooftop
we use
to shield our
mingled bodies
from storm
& overbearing
sunlight.
this is
my ideal
of life
unbridled.

Hope this finds you well,

Matthew LaVergne

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2 thoughts on “The Metaphysical Upside of Working & Living on an Organic Farm – A guest post.

    • You’re 2 months early, Uncle D! Liz’s b-day is in October! I’m sure you meant your other niece!

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