This week has been a big imagination week on the farm. This imagining is fun, yes, but it also has consequences, and needs to be done well. We’ve got to start spending money, we’ve got to start putting in time, and those are limited resources! I’ve got to be smart.
I’ve been staring at an increasingly-complex spreadsheet and imagining the humid rains of June, the inevitable drought of August, the surprising first frost of October. I’ve been flipping through seed catalogs and imagining Farm Stand sales in July, imagining what folks are asking for more of, and of what folks have had their fill. I’ve been diving into irrigation diagrams, imagining the form and function of pipes and sprinklers interacting with the foot traffic of a big volunteer group, with the needs and desires of a tired farm manager who just wants to see his kid at the end of a long day. I’ve been walking around the orchard, imagining what I want it to look like in three months, in six months, in three years, imagining the cuts needed to make that happen. I’ve been touring greenhouse spaces, imagining how the spring cabbage seedlings will feel on cold mornings in early March, how the fall kale seedlings will feel under the hot midday sun of late July.
There are countless decisions, and I’ll probably be wrong many times. But the nice thing about farming is that they just keep coming, so you make a call, then make the best of it, and move on.
One good example of that was seen this past weekend, as we launched our new compost cooperative. I was absolutely thrilled by the interest and the turnout. We were nervous about changing compost systems, knowing why we were making the decision, feeling good about the process, but unsure what the response would be. It was fantastic! Turns out that folks want to compost! They want to be involved in the life of the farm, they want to pitch in, and they’re willing to tromp through snow on a chilly Saturday morning to listen to a description of the chemistry and biology of decomposition. I was floored.
The imaginings continue for a few more weeks, as the many creatures that’ll make up the 2016 growing season at Common Good City Farm – the humans, the plants, the animals, the microbes – all start making their way back on to the farm, ready to work.