I knew that senior year was going to be challenging but I did not anticipate being pulled in so many different directions at once. My academic pursuits, time with friends, community engagement, and time for myself (gardening, eating, sleeping, showering, all that good stuff), makes sectioning out pieces of the pie of time pretty darn tricky. Especially with this being my last semester. Wow.
I recently read a beautiful article about this dilemma – The Disease of Being Busy:
“This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.”
Author Omid Safi, Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center, suggests that instead of getting sapped into our daily endless lists of to-dos, we pause and take time to check in to see how our heart is doing. How our soul is doing. “When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?”
I’ve made my own efforts to bring more intention and awareness to this dis-ease, making time to nurture my soul and do things that bring much joy. One such effort was in the form of a small grassroots community event that I organized with my good friend Chris, along with the support of others in the community.
Being involved with many of the food related groups on campus, I became aware of just how much interest there is among my peers in getting into sustainable farming and agriculture. A member of our career service department even acknowledged this, noting that they’ve never had more students come in asking about ways to get involved. Although the interest is definitely there, many of the resources available to those wanting to get into the field (literally) are unbeknownst to those seeking the information.
When I went to the Slow Money conference last fall, I sat and listened to a spunky, enthusiastic, and motivated woman, who spoke of reinvigorating the young farmer movement and mobilizing “protagonists of place” to care for our ecosystems and the future of our food. This woman was Severine von Tscahrner, a definite force, rather, power house, to be reckoned with on the local and sustainable farming scene. Severine, along with an expansive group of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators across the county make up the Greenhorns, a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization whose mission couldn’t be stated better than the way they state it themselves – “Our mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of young farmers.” This mission is definitely not simply the result of to-do lists or schedules, it’s a decision to pursue a way of life that breathes community, passion, friendship, and love among humans and between us and the land.
The Greenhorns’ methodology is getting the information and tools out there for young farmers and entrepreneurs by way of on-the-ground organizing of events and workshops, media production, and online coalition building. They offer a cache of valuable resources – everything from beginner farmer’s guides to financial guidance, to navigating land access to academic papers. Other resources include their film series Our Land, short films about pollution, distribution, grazing, and seed biodiversity, and their full feature documentary The Greenhorns, which shares stories from young agrarians across the country.
I had yet to see the documentary and when I saw that it was available for a community screening, I thought, “Well, if I want to see this, other people probably do too.”
So, that’s how our little event got started. Chris and I hosted the event this past weekend at the Greenspace Collective in downtown Sewanee. We served up homemade breads (almond, beer, and whole wheat), local spreads, cookies (Chris made some pretty awesome no-bake coconut and cocoa cookies), and hot tea to keep us warm in the chilly March air.
We had all sorts of folks from the community come out – students, faculty, and community members. The vibes were all good. The energy was amazing, and the conversations afterwards left me in a state of true inspiration. How was my heart? It was full.
Though the event took some planning, it wasn’t about getting something “done” and it certainly wasn’t something I’d say I was “busy” with. It was something that brought people together, brought good intentions together, to cohere in a space of community, openness, and interest for the future of our food. Thanks to everyone who came out!