A SUMMER TO REMEMBER
Perhaps the best classroom can be on a farm. Especially a regenerative farm with so much wonder and awe surrounding you. What a great opportunity this presents to the younger generation to learn and gives a chance for them to build new skills and play a part in bringing food to the dinner table as well as enriching our land.
This summer, a youthful energy has been injected into our farm. Kids were eager to get involved. Along the way they have learned some real life lessons. Their hard work is showing results that at the end of the day they can see & touch. It has ignited a spark and inspired 3 of these kids to develop a plan to play a bigger role with more responsibility next summer.
Shaedon, Zayelah & Zophiah all range in ages from 10 to 13 and are siblings. They started in the cold months with the last snowfall of the season. It was time for our main enterprise on the farm to have one of it’s big days; the first processing of chickens for the season. Matt, another youthful helper here on the farm has been with us from last year. He drove the tractor up the pasture to catch some chickens to bring down to our processing facility.
Now, these kids are experiencing things first hand that just about every child knew generations ago. A lost art is being reborn, and within it, they are learning to respect all life. Everything from animals to even that carrot in the ground. It all is life and is to be honored. They are experiencing an education first hand that just can’t be taught in a classroom. A lesson of life sustaining life.
Anyone who has seen us as we process chickens know that we take great care to keep our birds calm and relaxed. We aim to make every single one a peaceful passing. Even still, this is not for everyone. On our first day, and first cut, one of them turned white and had to step away in a different room. Light headed and pale she sat that part out. Packing the chicken was much easier for her, so she rejoined us for that. Fast forward 4 months, and just yesterday, she was so exited when she told her dad, “I’m doing a very important job today!” It was an important and sacred job indeed. Using a humane technique known as a kosher kill, where the chicken passes without pain or suffering. In this sacrifice, we honor the life and know this will provide for us and yield sustenance so that we can in turn have the energy to care for more birds. We can give more chickens a fantastic life. Thus, chickenhood is ensured in this sacrifice.
She was so proud of herself. To go from nearly passing out to being able to take on any role was a huge achievement for her. It was written all over her smile. This is something a video game just can’t give kids. No iPhone app can replace this experience. And the lesson is so deep, it teaches a profound respect for all life.
These kids have seen our animals express a happiness. The lambs hopping around, the chickens almost in a vacation mode sunbathing in a dirt bath they scratched out. They have seen local wildlife have an impact. Witnessed a hawk be both a predator to our chickens and a guardian. They have seen loss and they have seen an abundance of life. They can grow their own food, build shelters, build soil, capture carbon, care for animals. They learned what good food is and where it comes from. They learned responsibility and safety. They are learning money management. They have seen how land can provide for us and bounce back if we just listen to nature. One cool thing they were amazed at was how to find underground water just by using a tree branch. Even the dad was impressed!
They see magic. Like that tree branch pointing at the underground water; it’s mystical. Here on the farm, a new youthful group is rediscovering the wonders of the world and in their wake, healthy, flavorful, local food sits on your dinner table.