Sowing

On this day, and in this season, we celebrate symbols of fertility, like rabbits and eggs, and symbols of the resilience of life, like buds, blossoms, blooms and an empty tomb.

These reminders of the natural cycle of life following death are beautiful things.

This is the season of the seed. Within a seed there is the miraculous potential for new life.  But unless it’s planted, the seed stays dead.

So we sow.  Sometimes seed falls on good soil and it grows.  Sometimes seed falls on rocky soil and though it may germinate, it won’t grow.

This morning I’m wondering whether the seeds we’re sowing have landed on good soil.

There are only a few of us in this area trying to change the food system and trying to provide our community with food that is chemical-free and sustainably grown. For those farms, the signs are not good.  One farm has to take their produce 2 1/2 hours away to find people who will buy it.  Another farmer told me that 95% of their sales are outside of this area.  They’re struggling to survive and will quit if this year doesn’t bring significant improvement.  Another farmer has abandoned our area and now drives an hour north of here to go a farmer’s market where enough people care about food quality to make it worth his while.  And I’ve just heard that now he’s been threatened with an $11,000 fine for using the word “organic” to describe his produce, without having the official government certification.

And then there’s us.  We’re grateful to the few families who have chosen to get their food from us. They’ve made good locally-sourced food a priority for their families.  But there are only a few of them.  Very few, and that can be discouraging.

Last weekend Cherie manned a table at an autism awareness event in town.  Someone who recently moved here from Seattle commented that while it was really easy to find local, organic food in Seattle, she was finding it next to impossible here, despite the fact that we’re a rural agricultural-based community and Seattle is not.  Unsurprisingly, we live in the unhealthiest part of the state.

I’m learning that it’s unrealistic to expect to be able to convince people to change their diets by reasoning. For the most part, it’s something people must come to on their own. And ultimately, no matter how well we do everything else, the perception of “convenience” is what will drive most food purchases.  Relatively speaking, supporting local farmers is not “convenient.”

Maybe our seeds will yet take root and grow.  Or maybe they’ll get choked out by the weeds.

Should that happen, I’m confident that someone else will come along and try again.  There will be a harvest someday.

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