It seems like just yesterday Elliot and I were landless Farmers searching for a place to call home, traveling across small towns, over mountain passes, and in abandoned lots lost to economic progression and modern industry. It seems like just yesterday because, in fact, it pretty much was. Finally, Sun Dog Farm has settled on a settling spot and it couldn't have happened at a better time. Acquiring land for the purpose of small, diversified farming isn't easy, especially for young people who have a limited credit history and ideas a little outside of the box. We've littered the Georgia countryside with our presence and just as being hopeful was beginning to hurt, a modest home with eleven acres of pasture, growing space, a pond, and woods marched right into our hearts.
This was not our own discovery and we owe it all to the incredible community of fellow farmers who have done so much to help us push forward with our endeavors. Tate Tewksbury of Tewksbury Farms (Good Groceries) added us to his extensive list of good deeds and shortly after discussing our dilemmas with him, he came up with the perfect property right down the road. The property itself is something magical with so many opportunities hidden here and there, untouched and yet to be discovered. The fact that we will be right down the road from fellow farmers with big hearts and lots of experience is just icing on the cake. There is nothing that makes working the land feel more important than a group of supportive people who sweat through the hottest months alongside you to give to a community something it doesn't know it needs, but desperately does.
Given the pervasiveness of our Media and Advertising, it can be somewhat thankless work producing food for people who only see the value of items based on their price tags. We've coached our society to rely on the economy to make decisions for us, even trusting companies to look after our physical well being and they have pleased us with mass produced items at a fraction of the cost. The immediate pay off of this phenomenon has felt very good, but we are finding more and more the ultimate dangers of over-efficiency and the limited spending we've done on food. It is impossible for a small farm utilizing good land stewardship and animal husbandry to compete with the international selection of cheaply grown produce at the grocery store. Even worse still, we've filled our grocery stores with boxes, jars, and jugs of tasty, food-like substances that not only provide limited nutritional benefit, but even harm those who consume them. So what makes it worth it? How can those who have reclaimed control of their food choices push forward in a world of over indulgence? For Elliot and I, farming is not a strategy constructed simply for economic gain, it is everything, it is our lifestyle.
This new stretch of landscape located in the heart of Morgan County is our newest reinvention and one step closer to self sufficiency and the shared benefits of growing real food. While we have come across our fair share of misinformed, uninformed, and uninterested customers, it is always uplifting to share the fruit of our labors with those who truly know and or are excited about learning how to support food that matters. This new property comes with its own hurtles to jump such as fencing that needs mending, an empty house that needs filled with grown up furniture, rent to be paid monthly, a barn structure to be built, a pond covered in algae due to a nitrogen imbalance, and establishing something that does not yet exist; yet when I stroll across the fields or sit on the dock, my heart feels full. It is easy to get caught up in the frustrations and questions of the economic balance of your own "business", but feeling empowered and taking care of yourself, your family, and your community with your own two hands makes all of those concerns seem so unimportant.
So here we are, back at the beginning all over again. A new terrain to map out, new wildlife neighbors to enjoy and support, and an ever growing list of projects to start. We're exhausted but feeling the best we've felt in weeks. We're thankful for the customers who buy from us every week even during this time of economic uncertainty. Our CSA program is going through the construction phases and we should be advertising options soon for the Spring growing season. Now that Sun Dog Farm has a beautiful place to call home this fall, our hearts are at peace and our minds are free to explore. We may never actually grow up, but we will continue to grow in love and in soil.