By Hannah Harms
It is a struggle at times to support our own emotional health. We, as people, all have this search for happiness in common. It is worth exploring how organic farming and eating well affects our very existence on this Earth as an answer to this struggle.
I never understood what it meant to speak of nourishing the soul until I was introduced to organic farming. Within a week – my very first as a farm intern – I was completely exhausted, my body was sore, and I found myself constantly covered with dirt, but I was exhilarated. I looked back at the greenhouse beds I had measured out and fertilized and raked myself, at the rows of arugula I had seeded, and I felt a connection to the earth. A new energy and purpose in dedicating myself to taking care of my home by growing vegetables in an entirely healthy way. Putting everything good – also important to note, nothing bad – into the soil and producing vibrant, tasty foods.
Having grown up in a suburban environment, I now realize how easy it is to lose our relationship with the land on which we depend when we live in places so far removed from its natural, undeveloped state.
Getting our hands dirty pulling a carrot from the ground where it has been buried for months, or digging a hole for a tiny and growing broccoli plant – that’s where we can find the answer. It sounds simple and, maybe, unremarkable. But just take one bite out of that carrot and think about what took place in order for you to be able to sink your teeth into it and taste its juicy sweetness. Look back at that whole bed of baby broccoli plants and imagine what they will be in two weeks, or in four. You have created something with your own hands. You can feel pride and satisfaction as you watch it go through its entire life cycle, providing the soil with diverse nutrients that feed the land around it. You and the complex systems of the soil working together to nurture the health of, not only your own body and those of others who partake, but that of the earth as well.
The term “deep ecology” is new to me, and likely to many others, but its mission is not. We have lost sight of where we stand in nature, making industrial, technological, and economic development the priority when we should be aware of how irresponsible we are being with our treatment of the Earth. We have to realize that what we need is to respect the necessary diversity of nature – the opposite of the industrialization on which we have become so focused – in order to preserve it.
A commitment to changing our way of thinking will change our behaviors. Doing something so basic as planting, caring for, or even eating such organic foods, we are ensuring our own well-being, which will allow us in turn to support that of the world around us.
Hannah has worked at Quincy Farm in Schaghticoke, New York and at The Fulton Farm in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She is committed to organic vegetables and discovering ways to introduce people to how delicious and exciting they can be.