Bookworm Farms is the product of my love for the land I grew up on (although it’s often a tumultuous love affair) and my absolute dedication to sustainable, humane, and clean food. Having spent the better part of 8 years away from the farm, my return to living here full-time made me really sit down and think long and hard about what I could accomplish here. And so, the dream, and the hard work, began.
After lots of thinking and studying, I decided that I needed to be directly connected to my food. I had the land, I had the time, I had… well, I would find the money, and I would do it. My first BIG EXPERIMENT is raising some precocious little chickies. They are fascinating and hilarious and gratifying and wonderful. I’m loving every minute I get to spend watching them grow up and explore. Most of them will stick around for years, providing eggs to eat and sell, and then baby chicks to raise.
I often have to remind myself, however, that they are here for food. Being connected to my food, and being honest about what I eat, means I have to do the deed and send some chickens to the Big Coop in the Sky. I don’t relish that part. But I know that I will give them the best life while they are here. They will enjoy sunshine and chasing bugs and lots of love and appreciation. And then they will nourish myself and others that value the beauty of that contribution.
This land doesn’t belong to just me- literally and figuratively. The farm belongs to my family: grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, and cousins all have a claim on this place. Our 5,000 acres have to support 5 homes (my grandparents, parents, uncle and his family, my sister and her family, and myself), 3 businesses, and countless family interests. Because of this, everything we do here must be carefully thought out so as not to adversely impact the land, the animals, or the other businesses. Sustainability has become the only way that we can manage the land and leave something for the next generation.
The next generation has to be just as important to us as ourselves. And not just the ones that are lucky enough to be born on this land. We’ve got to think of the long term stability of the region and the planet so that, hopefully, my grandchildren will be able to still enjoy a bit of nature. The systems that have been at work for 50 years just aren’t good enough. We can’t rely on falsely cheap goods because we are simply deferring the costs. And the costs are many: loss of family farms, loss of fair working environments, loss of safe food sources, destruction of soil, destruction of culture, depletion of finite resources, increasing social stratification, increasing pollution and waste, privatization of fundamental resources, and a complete disconnect to the glorious things that nurture us.
Bookworm Farms is my attempt to change that in my little corner of the world. It’s a small start- my 20 chickens don’t a revolution make. But if every person made a small start, the world would be an immensely different place. And we will grow, but sustainably. I won’t overestimate our abilities. And I won’t leverage the health of our land, animals and selves for a quick buck.
Today I fed one person. Tomorrow I might feed one more. I will never feed the world. But that’s ok. That isn’t my job. My job is to do my very best right here and maybe, hopefully, help someone else do their very best in their own backyard.