Sunday, February 26, 2012

Culture Shock

Here we are.  Back at home after a conference full of people who are interested enough in organic agriculture/agriculture/etc to attend.  Talk about a bit of a shock when you get back to the 'real world.'

At the conference, we could discuss something like a vegetable crop rotation and not worry so much about whether those involved in the discussion were even remotely interested in the topic.  In all likelihood - every participant in the conversation had their own thoughts on the subject and their own questions.  It was good to explore them with people who had some experience and definite interest.

  In contrast, while this is our blog and we have posted about our rotations, we limit ourselves to the surface to avoid overwhelming or boring everyone else with the topic.  Why?  Because most people who do read the blog are interested in what we do - but not so interested that they want that sort of detail.  Nor do they have experience or personal reason to fully connect with the topic.  We understand that - and that's why these connections with other growers can be so vital.  We can spend time educating the general public about what a rotation is and why it is important *AND* we can discuss various rotation decisions and details with other practitioners.  But, it sure can be hard to transition from one to the other.

Another culture shock for us is leaving a conference where so many people are sold on organic practices to the general public where most people barely care about them.  For those of you who do support organic food production and local food systems - we thank you and are grateful for you.  But, you have to admit that our farm would be considered a bit of an oddball by most people.  Happily, we don't mind being just a little different.  But, there is still adjustments we must make after we leave the conference.

The last isn't really culture shock.  But, it can be jarring nonetheless.

The conference gives us an opportunity to gather all kinds of new information and re introduce ourselves to things we may have heard before, but weren't ready for at the time.  Our time there is full of big ideas and high-minded goals.  It can be invigorating as we tell ourselves how much we hope to accomplish in the coming months and years.

Then we come home and look at the lists of things we already knew we had to do.  And we begin the work of trying to figure out which (if any) of our big ideas from the conference can be integrated into that which we already know we must do.

It can be sobering if we let it overwhelm us.  Yet, I still can't help but be hopeful.  And, I encourage that hope by looking back and seeing where we were one year ago, two years ago and five years ago.  Believe it or not, we've actually moved forward on a number of our 'big ideas.'  It can be done - it just isn't as nice and neat as we might like it to be when we first conceptualize them. 

And so - we see a big week ahead of us.  Let's see what we can achieve.

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