Why I Farm
Every period of difficulty is an opportunity. An opportunity to pause, reflect, learn, and grow. This unprecedented time in modern history is such a time. What will humanity learn from this crisis? What systems will need to change? How do we ensure that all this suffering is not wasted?
This impossibly rare, wonderfully special planet and the beautiful humanity who inhabit it, has been groaning under the strain of exploitation, pollution, injustice, and indignity for centuries. But when this pandemic struck, and the economies and industries of the world came to a sudden halt, a phenomenon occurred: the skies began to clear, the waterways began to sparkle, and restless humanity was forced to stop, stay home...and rest. And reflect.
On this Earth Day, 2020, we have a rare opportunity to reflect, re-assess, reprioritize, and re-imagine. Our beautiful planet is hurting. Many of our dear neighbors are hurting. If there is only one thing that is vividly clear in this time of crisis and suffering, it is that every continent, every nation, every single human being shares in it. Nobody anywhere is unaffected. Our shared human experience means that we are together in this. So, we have a choice: we can try to live in solidarity with the pain of the world, or we can spend our lives trying to run away from it.
My inclination is to protect myself from pain and scarcity, to gather as much wealth as I can, and to turn my eyes away from the suffering around me. But this is not good for my soul. No matter how hard I try to avert my eyes from the suffering around me, my soul knows it's there. When I ignore the God-breathed wisdom of my soul, I create a fracture within myself. But when I listen to that unease within my soul, I deepen, and I develop a capacity to suffer wisely, calmly and generously, in solidarity with those around me.
This is why I farm. Farming allows me to connect with the hurting planet. Firstfruits Farm SLO allows me to connect with the hurting planet and my hurting neighbor. Every time I care for our fruit trees, nurture our soil, or tend to our seedlings, I experience reconciliation with the Earth. Every time I work alongside a food recipient in the field or deliver a freshly harvested crate of wholesome food to a community partner, I experience reconciliation with my neighbor. In both of these, I experience communion with our ever-near, ever-good Creator.
With many facing even more dire food insecurity, our work now is more important than ever. We have made many adjustments to our farm operations to protect our volunteers this year, and we are excited for this planting & growing seasons! I would love to work alongside you, hear your story, and connect in our shared humanity at the farm. Won't you join us?
President of the Board
Darin is a senior systems engineer at the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB and serves as the Superintendent of Operations at the 148th Space Operations Squadron. He formerly operated a small-scale organic farm.
Darin is a cofounder of Firstfruits Farm SLO.