2014: The Seventh Year of Awesome
What a year it has been at Cedar Circle Farm! Our education programs have been busy with a host of end-of-season activities including wrapping up from pumpkin festival, fall pumpkin patch tours, and getting everything ready for a long winters rest.
This year, nearly 1000 students visited the farm for a tour or for educational activities. Nearly 500 of those were within the past three weeks! In June and October we hosted two of the ‘best-ever’ harvest festivals (with record attendance) and throughout the season, visitors enjoyed many other events and classes on the farm, in our fields, gardens, and farm kitchen.
The Thetford school and community gardens thrived this year, both in terms of yield and participation, and are now ready for a winter slumber. In May, the Governor signed the first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law that we and our fellow Vt Right To Know GMOs coalition members worked so hard for over the past three years. In September we marched with 400,000 people in NYC for climate solutions, and just last week we were honored by a visit from Dr. Vandana Shiva, who not only visited our farm, but offered two amazing and empowering presentations to show her solidarity with Vermonters speaking truth to power.
More truth to power is what we need in order to have the effect we hope to have on our food system and in mitigating climate change. The industrial food system is energy intensive and chemical intensive. Big food and big energy have long put profits before people and planet, and we have allowed that to happen. This paradigm is depleting our communities, our bodies, and our planet. We are devastatingly mismanaging our resources. The high externalized costs of cheap food and energy are suffocating us.
We can fix this by repairing the personal and societal disconnect between our soil, water, air, physical and mental health, and what we consume and how it is produced. Cedar Circle Farm is an active part of this solution. Changing the way food is grown is a promising solution to climate change. All that carbon we keep spewing into the air needs to come back down to earth (so do we). We have to put the carbon back in the ground. There are attainable solutions right under our feet.
We are learning that soil life: microbial organisms like bacteria and fungi are critical ingredients of healthy food and healthy soil. Regenerative, organic agriculture optimizes this concept. It produces food and sustains land in a way that promises a healthy future without the use of dangerous chemicals, heavy petroleum inputs, or monolithic farms. The Rodale Institute’s 30 year study The Farming Systems Trial comparing chemical vs organic agriculture proves that organic regenerative agriculture produces the same yields, uses less resources, and leaves the land in better condition. Their report called the White Paper concludes that regenerative farming practices can mitigate climate change.
There is so much work to do in the world and so much joy to be found in that work. Life is short, sometimes shorter than we expect. I believe that life is meant to be lived fully and to our highest potential. I am equally sad and excited to announce that this is my last week at Cedar Circle Farm. To say that I am grateful for my experiences here would be an understatement. I could not have nurtured the skills and accomplishments that I have over the past 7 years without the foundation of the amazing place that this farm is. Many thanks to all of you in our community who have supported that work.
I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Cedar Circle Farm has offered to help change the face of agriculture one plate at a time. I really enjoy being able to share my enthusiasm for food and soil. I love inspiring people to gain an understanding of the living world that supports our food system, that supports us: insects and plants, food and habitats, compost and soil. The work we do to organize the grassroots has left me feeling empowered and excited to continue helping to actively create the world that we want to live in. This work is very fulfilling and has taught me much.
In my new adventures I am excited to help families, small businesses, and communities to incorporate basic practices to live more simply: to shrink their environmental footprint and to maximize the functions of their green spaces. Stay tuned to the local scene to learn of my new endeavors after a bit of a winter rest. I look forward to working with the farm in the future in many of the same ways that I do now. If you want to stay in touch with me, send me an email.
Blessings to you all!
With love and light, Cat