So after we at dinner at the Grange with the farmers, drinking local bottled beer that I’d never heard of, there was a impromptu presentation.
A family was losing their farm. The details were really shitty- they had a signed a 10 year lease, wanted to sign a 20 year lease, but the landlord convinced them to try 10. And then now, three years later, he’s telling them he’s ending their lease. After they have put all this long term money into the farm- starting up a completely organic farm, which takes years to pay for itself again. Their landlord was a former friend and a lawyer, so they are not going to try to fight it. But they came to the grange farmer’s community for help. And everyone there signed up to begin looking for properties, talking to neighbors, etc. Very cool.
The farmer couple: A sweet guy with blonde dredlocks and a woman who looked straight out of little house on the prairie. And their threechildren with adorable blond curls. A former intern farmer talk about their situation, and then the man talked more about it. He almost started crying. So did the woman. It was really heartwrenching. It was a family getting their life ripped out from under them.
And get this- it’s illegal to volunteer on farms in California. So they are not able to get help moving when they move out– crazy. But– people were popcorning ideas, and there is a loophole. If people pay just a dollar to work on the farm- it’s like paying for an “experience.” So you can pay to help a farmer, you can’t just volunteer for free.
Interesting, good basis in labor laws. But sucks for situations like this. The landlord said he was going to watch and make sure they didn’t get help as well.
It was like a drama out of a movie, and the community shouting out ideas in an orderly fashion felt right off a script.
Really beautiful to watch, actually.
Then there was another presentation on creating a skillbook- a book full of profiles of all the farmers in the community, and the resources they can provide one another, such as legal aid in this case.
And then they came up with the idea to keep a timeshare record. This is basically where you trade skills for skills. So say I was a lawyer and could easily help handle a legal issue, but I didn’t know how to grow my own food. So I would trade an hour of legal work for a dozen eggs and three jars of apple jam. Something like that.
That way people with skills are not just being drained, and people without those skills feel they are not just sucking energy from others.
Forgot another new insight today:
The eggs that we eat on the farm are fertilized eggs from the chickens and roosters we work with.
So I’ve been eating little chicken embryos the whole time I’ve been here. Had some more tonight without thinking and they were absolutely delicious.
Realized halfway through, and almost couldn’t finish.
Later, we have a great night out at the pub. Irish music with a guitar and a violin. And a hoola hooper. And a bunch of weed farmers.