Welcome to the Against the Grain Farm Stand where you can pre-order for pick up at either Watauga Country Farmer's Market or at the farm for Saturday, August 15th. If you're reading this in an email, you'll see the items that we have to offer this week below. You can simply click on the yellow button "purchase from the farmstand" to reserve a box, make swaps and add extras to the base box that Harvie will put together for you. If you're reading this in the Harvie platform, navigate over to the "farm stand" to reserve your box.
The ordering period for Saturday pick-up closes at 8pm on Thursday, August 13th.
If you have any questions about your box or the farm stand process, please reach out to Holly directly by email at email@example.com or by phone at 828-406-4439. If you are having any difficulties placing your order or would like to confirm the contents of your box, please do not hesitate to reach out to Holly.
Our apprentice profiles continue this week with a profile of Imani Humphries (pictured above with her partner, Victor Romano) by M Mueller...
The new agriculture which ATG pursues is powered by a different kind of agriculturalist. When we look broadly at agriculture in the US, present and past, we see the exploitation of farm workers and the degradation of human dignity that labors to grow food. Long entrenched economics of enforced slave labor, wage slave labor, the selling of one’s body for a paycheck, and the deadly commoditization of the human spirit sometimes keeps us from seeing the new-emerging farm worker: the spiritually engaged agriculturalist.
Imani Humphries is spiritually engaged. Her road to our farm emerges from a childhood immersed in a loving family. Her father always tended a modest garden of some kind, and she remembers her joy when he served the zucchini he had grown and cooked, onto the plates of his family. To her, this is the miracle of fruitful abundance.
Imani’s path toward our soil includes an early education of both spiritual and physical development. The visual arts attracted her in the early years; she also played soccer from an early age. Her love of the art of photography led her to the School of Art and Design at SUNY Purchase; and while out on a chance photo shoot, she encountered Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. The images of a sustainable farm engaged in education and culinary enjoyment enticed her, and she said to herself, “I could see myself there.”
While assisting in the farm store, doing chores, giving tours, she kept a weather eye out for learning the art of growing good vegetables. Then, when a position opened for her on the Science Barge, an initiative of Groundwork Hudson Valley on the Hudson River, she saw a completely different form of food production--hydroponics. Able to practice both hydroponics and agriculture, she was perfectly placed to observe food systems and their capabilities to produce food: on the one hand, plants with carefully controlled inputs suspended in water, on the other hand, the same vegetables grown in living systems connected to the soil of the earth. In either growing environment, it was the abundant fruit of the plants and their ability to feed many people that kept her early joy alive. And she has brought this joy to ATG Farm!
Here at ATG, she says, she can participate in a working farm community and gain confidence in her skills growing vegetables in a milieu of intense, highly diversified farming. She appreciates experiencing larger production, and continues to observe the livestock on which the farm depends. “Livestock feels grounded,” she says. “Settled.” Even surrounded by all the farm animals here, she still yearns for some experience with sheep, which the farm does not currently keep.
Recently Imani learned more about the history of her mother’s family. As it turns out, her grandmother was a farm laborer and several of her uncles and aunts supported themselves farming. In speaking with her mother about what it was like growing up on that farm, Imani learned more the deep joy of abundant food farmed, prepared and shared among family.
Daily calls with her mother taught her plenty. “Hey, Mom, we’re putting up hay today,” was answered with acknowledgement and a helpful hint or two on how to get through. Her grandmother is perhaps less sanguine—after all, she farmed so none of her descendants would ever have to—“But she gets it,” Imani says.
The sureness and knowledge Imani brings to growing vegetables is a joy to witness and to taste. We love her lively wit and kindness, and we are graced by the integrity with which she works. She teaches us the true dignity of labor, ensouled as it is with spiritual activity.
Much love and happy eating,
Holly, Andy and the Crew at ATG