The answer to the question that forms the title to this blog post is very simple and yet very difficult to explain to someone who hasn't had a sufficient amount of life behind them. I've thought a great deal about the big environmental and social problems of the world. I've most often done so out of a feeling of despair--desperation even. I've looked for the big answer to the big problems, as if somehow we, collectively as a society, could impose a solution to the problems of the world. I now know I cannot impose anything on nature. Any good gardner will tell you that much is true.
Tasha and I live here on this farm. We moved here roughly a year and a half ago. We built a home. We have my parents as neighbors. We're happy.
Our farming is an extension of the love we have of this place, of this land. This ground is located in the foothills of what was once the Arkansas leatherwoods--although only historians ever call them the leatherwoods at this point in time. This whole area once was covered in a vast forrest of trees, cane breaks and creek bottoms. I have no way of knowing when or how often this land has had it's trees logged off, but what was left when my family took over was weak overgrown pasture and second growth wood lots. The topsoil is thin and exhausted.
The modern answer to the soil's weakness would be to impose the solution--to spread chemical fertilizers and spray herbicides when the thorn trees and the thistle weeds pop up. Our answer, my family's answer, is to give the ground what it needs to grow. The cows and chickens are working to feed the soil. The pastures are working to feed the cows and chickens. The cows and chickens feed my family and friends and neighbors. The balance of this relationship will repair the land. Our customers are a very important part of that relationship. Every animal you buy from us helps to repair the land. It's not a big answer but its an appropriate answer.
So the answer to the question why do we farm is because it's the right thing to do.