One question that has always been so tricky for us to answer is…. so, what does your farm… sell? What do you actually do?
It was hard to answer, because it’s all been an experiment–from the very beginning. See, six years ago…I had some questions. Can two women with no experience with living off the land – learn how to do so? Can we get reconnected to nature and our food? Is it possible for people who got born into a system designed to make them sad, sick, dependent and overweight design a system of their own that changes those things? Can you turn a foreclosed vacation home into an organic farm? Are two people truly able to do the work themselves to provide their own diet? What would our lives be like if we didn’t have power in our home–would we… survive? Would it make us less dependent and more empowered? And then, the big question–if the answer to those questions all happen to be yes…. can we inspire other people to try to step outside into the natural world… and try to change their lives and corner of the earth too?
I feel so incredibly blessed to be one of the people who gets to be here, every day, watching those questions get answered. It’s why I put so much energy into sharing our space and our story as the experiment has been going on. It’s why I dedicate up to an hour of my day to sharing our content online via social media.
It’s why I keep putting these pictures out there in the world – and show people what happened to me, when I tried to answer those questions for myself. It’s why I try to show before and after pictures of this land and our home–so that people can see that just about any space on earth can be grown and really lived in… if you are willing to be creative and do hard work. It’s why we will be documenting a food challenge this year…. something we’ve already seen proof of for the last few years. That yes, if we are willing to go with less convenience, make major diet changes, incorporate a lot of wild food into our diets, and cook a lot–we can totally provide almost all of our own food. We ditched our cell phones in early 2011 and pulled the wiring out of our house in the fall of 2013. We didn’t die. (Side note of homestead truth: our intentional neighborhood does share a small grid power house for well water, a communal deep freezer, modem, and charging our batteries) And yes, it totally makes us feel empowered, to live with less convenience.
We’ve been hosting workshops, immersions, experiences, and school groups here since spring of 2013. It’s felt like homestead school, one where we are fortunate enough to be students too. We’ve always put a special focus on trying to provide a safe space for women, that might just be like the ones we were in the beginning. We put energy into opening up to children that are super excited to learn about where their food comes from. Year in and year out, my heart swells as I watch them all grow here….and as we grow here too. It never gets old, getting letters from women after they are long gone in my PO box or comments from student’s parents on our pictures online that tell us how much they learned here… and how much they all usually say they can’t wait to visit again.
Waking up to women I’ve never even met + their comments and emails about how much they love following my writing and pictures means the world. Hearing how much it inspires them… it lets me know that I’m not wasting time. Here lately, I get them almost every day. It shows me, I’m sowing seeds – of a very different sort. And this teacher and farmer… just loves the tarnation out of that.
I love it so much already, but in these strange times we are all currently residing in–it sure feels more important than ever before. It’s time…to be broadcasting seeds of inspiration and positivity all over the dang place. To be spreading knowledge by making it more attainable and approachable. It sure seems like it is time to come together as a community of happier humans, that would very much like a healthy planet to connect to each other on.
I certainly don’t ever mean to imply that I think everyone under the sun should do what we did, or live the way we do. I sure do know that it’s not for everyone. But I can say this… for me–farming and foraging for my own food, being outside and watching the sun come up over the mountain as I sit and type this to you now, and watching some very cute rabbits hop around beside me while I write… it is what calms me down in a chaotic world. It’s what has helped me not be morbidly obese for the first time in my adult life. It’s certainly what’s helped me stay this weight I’m pretty happy with for going on three years. Like I said, doing what we did–I totally get it isn’t for everyone.
However, I would think that having a healthy environment to live in + healthy food to put in your body…. is for everyone. In my humble opinion, organic food should not just be for the wealthy…it should be for everyone. Having a planet that isn’t being poisoned and pillaged is in everyone’s best interest. And, six years into my own journey, I see how those things can go hand in hand – if we can all come together and grow. I’m not saying to stop living your current life and start a farm either… I’m just saying, Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. If you do, you might just have some interesting results.
In the meantime, we will keep doing what we do. And that is providing education and experiences. We will keep creating a space that is safe for women to grow and learn. We will keep letting them immerse themselves on our land. We will keep teaching young people what it looks like to grow food. We’ll keep making art to pay the bills. And we will keep working on getting more of our experiences and education online too. It’s what we do here…. we try to inspire the change we want to see in the world. -the farmer
HELP SUPPORT EDUCATION AT EIGHT OWLS
You can now make a donation to the farm’s donation based educational programs by sending funds to our fancy new non-profit arm! You can either send checks or money orders made out to “Redbud Institute” with a memo line that says “for Eight Owls Farmstead” and mail them to PO box 1791 Brevard, NC 28712. OR you can pay via PayPal by sending your donation to this email address “firstname.lastname@example.org”, again please put a memo note on the donation that it is for Eight Owls Farmstead.
Redbud Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so you will get a receipt to show you donated to one. 100% of your donation will go straight to fund operating expenses, equipment and education at Eight Owls Farmstead. Please make sure to include your mailing address if it is not on your check and email address, so we can send you a receipt and our eternal thanks!