2017 roundup

5 things I'm proud of from 2017

  • We had a larger staff than ever before, and I made payroll each time! I adapted payroll to a more frequent schedule in response to staff desire. I paid above minimum wage.
  • We got the new tiller going! I overcame nervousness and setbacks in learning to use it, and it rocketed bed prep & turnover more quickly than ever before, increasing productivity on the farm overall, and incorporating cover crops for the first time! Less labor, more flowers, and more soil health!
  • We improved post-harvest handling & bouquet life. In response to customer feedback, this was a priority for 2017. Staff training, cooperative oversight, and honest check-ins on bouquets improved our quality.
  • I continued to forage! Some weeks were so busy that it seemed impossible to get out and forage for wildflowers, but I did so, with the encouragement of my staff. It not only strengthens the individuality and place-based originality of our work, but I enjoy it enormously, and it improves my mental health.
  • I made room for Shelbie & Sherry to take on individual responsibilities in farm management & design, respectively. I helped support them to build the necessary foundations, then got out of the way (I think) to enable them to act according to their prerogatives and growing expertise.

5 things I want to do better in 2018

  • I improved my financial bookkeeping, but it is still not where I want it to be. I need to hold myself accountable on a weekly basis, not just catch-up over the months. Imperfect is better than not at all. I am taking an online course in accounting right now in order to build my confidence and knowledge to accomplish this goal. 
  • Ambiguity about other employees' role as public faces, or not, for the business, caused some pain and confusion this season. I want to preemptively discuss this with crew and together come to understanding about public facing roles.
  • We will apply crop amendments beyond just compost this year. It is time for us to begin to improve soil & crop health in more sophisticated ways. We will move forward with it, even if it's not perfect, and improve from there. The improvement for this year is to do it at all, and the improvements thereafter can be more nuanced.
  • We will improve customer recordkeeping with a more comprehensive database. We will know our past customers and their buying habits better, and strive to offer them more & better opportunities to purchase, especially past wedding customers!
  • The season started strong with staff training & engagement. I let it drift away partly due to busyness, but also partly because I didn't perceive 'enough' enthusiasm. This was not true enough to trust. I will trust & continue structures we set up including farm walks, check-ins, and weekly goals.

week 45-46 on the farm - ableism identified

Hello all,

 

This week I had the good fortune and good sense to attend a dialogue on Disability Justice in the gardens and farms of Detroit, led by local activist Baba Baxter. I was introduced to the Social Model of disability, which states that disability is a social problem that can be cured by treating the social and material conditions of ableism.

 

I'm so grateful to be exposed to this new to me way of approaching the world. A quote behind the speakers read "My only handicap is your attitude." An important piece of this understanding also seems to be that ability is temporary.

 

 

The tanks! The tanks! Come spring, the hoophouse will be largely reliant on rain catchment.

The tanks! The tanks! Come spring, the hoophouse will be largely reliant on rain catchment.

 

 

I return again to imagination, and how important it is to our collective liberation and survival. Your imagination is your own innate possession, and it is also our society's best hope to continue along our healing pathways.

 

I sometimes find myself dissuading myself of idealized visions because of the 'practicality' drummed into my consciousness by the version of the world I've grown up in. The negative voices in my head, and your head, and society's multiple gnawing gnashing heads, are not our best bets. 

 

 

Collecting leaves is one of my favorite fall activities.

Collecting leaves is one of my favorite fall activities.

 

 

I'm inviting myself, and you, to imagine with my most loving and hopeful self, and keep imagining better and better versions of life and equity and justice. Let's keep expanding our consciousness to improve our imaginations.

 

 

This pic from April reminds us what's to come of all those bulbs we planted in the cold cold ground! The tulips will come...

This pic from April reminds us what's to come of all those bulbs we planted in the cold cold ground! The tulips will come...

 

 

Thanks for enabling my imagination all season long, 

 

Farmer Sarah

week 43-44 on the farm - the momentum of the orbit

Dear all,

 

I was talking with my mom recently about remembering, and the limits of remembering, and the need to let go of some memories. What's the word for the bittersweet knowledge that even in a moment, the memory you're creating may not stick with you? If a scarcity of relics encourages reverence for the few remaining pieces, what does a glut of relics encourage?

 

 

Fall colors on our japanese lilac bush.

Fall colors on our japanese lilac bush.

 

 

The beautiful 'products' that I create & sell from the farm have come to a close for the year. However, the garden itself offers much in the way of enjoyment and peace for the diligent observer. 

 

 

A lovely cart full of dusty miller & amaranth, at our last delivery to Mayesh.

A lovely cart full of dusty miller & amaranth, at our last delivery to Mayesh.

 

 

All practices ingrain habits and mindsets on us. Some practices we've created ourselves, with intention. Many practices we've inherited or absorbed from our families, friends, societies. It can be somewhat of a spiraling process, no? Whatever you center, you continue to be attracted to. It takes a lot of effort to center something else, but once you get in the groove, the momentum of the orbit can keep you in it with less and less effort (for better & for worse).

 

 

Amaranth, dianthus, dahlias, marigolds, dusty miller, strawflowers, kale, and eucalyptus make up our last week's deliveries.

Amaranth, dianthus, dahlias, marigolds, dusty miller, strawflowers, kale, and eucalyptus make up our last week's deliveries.

 

 

This is such a time of year for taking stock, and sharing. We're getting ready for some significant downtime, and some significant celebrating. I'm working on centering family and intimate relationships this time of year. I'm working on accepting the hard and sad and angering aspects of those relationships, as well as the joy and fun and light.

 

 

 

Uncle Shelbie & Ruti share a tender moment cleaning pepper plants in the hoophouse.

Uncle Shelbie & Ruti share a tender moment cleaning pepper plants in the hoophouse.

 

 

May we all have fun, love, and safety.

 

With love,

Sarah