One Farmer’s Reflections

Every now and then you stumble upon some random and perhaps, an appointed meeting that deeply impacts and stays with you long after. This happened with a new friend, Lauren Virnoche of Ecotone Herbs. Her “Farm Update” arrived just as we entered this holiday season. What a gift to discover the connections with the land, celebrating the bounty, and one another. Shared here with great gratitude. Read on…

The garlic is planted and tucked in under a blanket of straw, hemp flowers are removed from stalks, the crops are in from the fields, and for the most part I’m focused on processing and storing this year’s harvest.  Some herbs are dried and removed from stem, some frozen, some soaked in alcohol or vinegar, some distilled to capture their essence.  Every herb has a unique story to tell and a different way to express it – a flavor – to translate it into a language our bodies can receive in one way or another.  Between all the preserving, I like to wander out and enjoy some late fall foraging.  I cherish this pause.  The pursuit of cultivating plants is one thing, and a visit with them in their habitat another.  Foraging grounds me in feeling very grateful at this time of year when I can become overwhelmed with the urgency of wrapping up the season – what I need is within my reach, it is a matter of knowing where to look for it, and learning how to take only what you need – a lifetime of lessons to learn.  It helps me stay connected to place, and people too – the relationships that develop over time in connection with the space we all inhabit and the meals from it that we share together.  This is the essence of Thanksgiving for me, my favourite holiday rooted in these principles – abundance, sharing, and gratitude for that which supports and sustains us.  But this isn’t everyone’s experience of the holiday, and foraging reminds me of this also.  How can I celebrate a holiday founded on a storybook retelling of an unclear past, when what is clear is the injustice Indigenous communities have endured since?  Listening to Indigenous voices, developing connection to our habitat and staying curious, being more intentional about what’s on my plate, and bringing some gifts nature offers to the table help me decolonize my mind – a lifetime of lessons to re-learn.  Because as an herbalist, I hold in deep regard the language of this place and these plants long interpreted and maintained by Indigenous communities – I live on Kickapoo, Peoria, and Potawatomi land.  And as a farmer, being able to share a bountiful harvest with others is certain cause for celebration.  In gratitude for all the connections made this year through the market and beyond, thank you for joining me in reflection.



[Photo: Steven A. Smith]

Post by Esperanza

PureEsperanza, NFP is dedicated to bringing forth more Consciousness while educating our body, mind and soul in the art of well-being.