We have been without a camera for the last few weeks, and so it’s been tricky keeping things up to date on here – at least pictorially. But, don’t worry we have been busy on the farm. In fact, it’s been a wonderful refuge in these strange times of Covid 19.
I feel a little guilty to admit, but we’ve actually been having a wonderful time. Re-connecting, disconnecting, head banging against the wall disconnecting, re-connecting again. We’ve been soaking up the ebbs and flows of family life. And the flowers are thriving in the spring sunshine.
I have to admit, I don’t know what to make of it all. I’m not sure what information to trust and what not to. Charles Eisenstein, in his book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, reflects upon how we used to place great trust in governments, science and technology. These were the things that were going to save the world. And while this is the story our governments and media want us to believe, many of us are beginning to question this story and seek out a new story (as Eisenstein puts it).
The green revolution of the 1950’s and 60’s which transformed agriculture to what it is today was then seen as the means to sustain population expansion and low food prices. Yet, it is also the cause or precursor to mass deforestation, hedgerow and habitat destruction, the pollution of our soil and waterways, soil erosion, devastation of communities and local food networks. I could go on, but my point is scientists of every denomination get things wrong, very wrong in fact.
I’m not saying Covid 19 is a hoax. But what I am saying is it could be 50 or more years before we know what this thing exactly is, how it spreads and how it should be dealt with. I’m 99% certain that much of what we read in the mainstream media is misleading, scaremongering and counterfactual. Which is why I’ve turned it off (even radio 4, I mean especially radio 4).
Drawing us back to simplicity
I’ve never seen so many people walking and cycling here in Cornwall. The country lanes, footpaths and bridleways are humming. The roads are quiet, and more importantly safe to traverse on foot or bike. What’s more I’ve never heard so much bird song. It feels utopian, like we have gone back to the 1900’s – before the age of the motorcar, the flatpacked office and when rural places were synonymous with vibrant rural life – the non-polluting kind. How can people return to the humdrum, the rat race, living for the weekend, the nine to five after this?
Of course, people will, they need to feed their families, pay their debts. We are the lucky ones, our work is here among these flowers, among the chickens and cows. We can return to simplicity whenever we like.
We still have the debts, the credit cards and consumer hangovers from spending too much time on ebay. But when we bought this farm we were seeking simplicity. This is evident in the way we farm. Our inputs are low – we don’t have a tractor, our chickens and cows mow our grass, and our pigs plough our beds. We grow lots of our own food. We are not Little House on the Prairie, but we are trying to simplify our lives and Covid 19 has shown us why this is so important for us and our family.
I hope other people begin to search out timeless simplicity more often. Connect with the things that are good and wholesome in their lives and communities, so we can become more resilient to these types of events.
One thing we can all do is support local growers and producers who farm sustainably – build up your network and you will unlikely to ever have to go without eggs again, and less likely to have to stand two meters apart in a supermarket queue for 2 hours. And, of course when the jet planes stop bringing flowers from overseas, you’ll still be able to get wonderful flowers from local flower growers like us. (sorry, I had to work a plug in there somewhere!)