There’s nothing more quaint and pleasant than a getaway from the busy city into the far off and widely spread lands of Suffolk (located in the U.K.). During my stay here, I got to stay with a lovely family in exchange for their farm experience. I loved each and every day of it as I learned something deeper than just seeds, soil and pots. Here are five values that organic farming has taught me to stay more grounded:
Mindful Connection -there’s just something about being out in the open with nature—you’ll just feel more connected and aware of your surroundings even with your interaction with other beings (not just people, but with animals and their little plant friends). At the farm, they had a beautiful greyhound dog who kept us company when we were farming. I’ve always been a cat person, but this beauty stayed by my side most of the time and her companionship felt so nice and loyal – I could then relate why dogs are a man’s best friend. But of course, I still love cats (they also had a pet cat)—please don’t get jealous, Pockets. Yes, that’s my cat’s name and yes, he sometimes hates me for no reason—maybe any cat person can relate?
With nature, I just loved how everything is just connected to one another—from the woodlice in the deep soil that helps consume dead plants and decompose them, if you find hidden mushrooms they are good signs of healthy soil (I adore finding cute tiny ones!) to the usage of sheep’s leftover wool to prevent slugs from munching the veggies away. During break times, we’d go play in the mud and puddles with their son and it was just so fun feeling like a kid again! At meal times, we would cook and eat what they’ve previously grown and ahhh, the freshness was just sublime! Dinner times were my favorite because we get to wind down from a hard day’s work, share fun stories and just enjoy time as it is.
Dedication – one of the basic tasks we’d have to do and if it’s your first time farming is weeding. This can definitely give you a nice tan (when it’s lovely and sunny out) but also a sore back as it can take almost about an hour just to pluck these cheeky weeds by hand! They are seeds that start growing in the wrong part of the farm due to the wind or by accidentally dropping tiny seeds in the wrong place. This made me appreciate farmers’ hard work and dedication just to feed us which leads me to the next value:
Appreciation – as mentioned if I was experiencing this just for about a day or two, imagine a farmers’ lifestyle! This has truly deepened my appreciation for their commitment. When we were weeding out other vegetables that had to go to the compost, we plucked out some coriander and even though they were drying out, they still smelled so good! I somehow felt bad that they all had to go, but this also taught me to accept the cycle of life, the process and it was also nice to think that they will still be part of the new vegetation! Another thing that I have appreciated even more was the sun. Before dawn, we would set up our yurts to sleep in and I would keep my shoes out but one night, it started raining so they were soaked the next day! So I had to go barefoot which I actually preferred, it felt so nice to connect with the earth. Just felt so grounding (and literally with my feet). Throughout the day, the sun dried out my shoes and even greeted me the next morning but I still went shoe free and remained feeling even more grounded.
Growth – when we went into the tomato tent, we were taught that they have to grow a certain way and that’s growing upwards. We had to tie knots around their base so they could start expanding ascensive. For the lettuce, we had to transfer the baby ones out of their small pots to further grow in a bigger space, this was a gentle reminder that we too have to stretch out our roots to flourish.
Beauty – each vegetable has its own beauty, you can’t compare a colorful rainbow Swiss chard to the blooming ruffled lettuce. You can’t expect the seed of a sweetcorn to sprout out to be something else. Sometimes we just have to accept things for what they truly are. Even the morning sunrise can’t go against the night’s romantic skies. Everything has its own time to be itself and luster.
If you’re looking for a farm getaway, I stayed over at Fellows Farm with the founder, Ben and his beautiful family and land.
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Photo: Bel Faustino