Our Farm is Community.
You are my community. Yes you, the person who is reading this, YOU are my community. Maybe we are friends or maybe we have never met before. Either way you have stumbled across this random blog post on a farm page and decided to sit down and take a moment out of your life and read what I am currently typing on my keyboard. Thank you!
Being as you are part of our community I thought I'd let you in on what has been going on in my brain and on our farm as we near the end of winter. I have been doing a lot of writing lately but I haven't been posting anything to my blog. I have had a hard time figuring out the boundaries of blogging, how much to say, what I should share and what to keep private. I tend to be an open book when I sit down and talk with a person, I don't have anything to hide and feel no shame sharing the struggles of my life. Putting those words on the internet to be seen by anyone is a strange concept to me and one I haven't quite warmed up to, but if I were to write a book I suppose it would not be any different.
Speaking my truth does not make me uncomfortable but I find it often makes others uncomfortable as it rubs a wound they have not yet dealt with. With that being said I have learned that I am not responsible for others discomfort as they are not responsible for mine and I will never limit myself to make others comfortable. So perhaps you will see more of my “truths” on the blog in the coming months as I learn to embrace being more brave. I have found that when I am brave in sharing my stories people relate and they seek me out to tell me their own stories. To me that is the best gift! We are all a lifetime of stories, some wonderful and some very hard but whatever your story is I am always deeply honored to have been gifted with it, so please keep sharing them with me and I will do more of the same.
Here on the farm we are on the cusp of entering into what could be a hard season, the cows are drying up. Promise and Annabelle are both pregnant and will be having calves September- October which means they need time to put energy into their growing calves instead of providing us with milk. I have been trying not to panic as it is scary not having any milk to sell, I have been searching for another cow without much luck. The milk we sell keeps this farm afloat and after all we are a dairy farm, aren't we? Or are we? This is the question that has been running through my mind. What are we? What is Sweet River Farm? The answer I keep getting back is we are a community, we are a place for people to meet, to learn, to grow and to gather. We do not have a farm stand just to sell you things, we have a farm stand so you have a place to come and be part of our community, a place for belonging and connection. We want to bring people together an share what we have. That is why we do this, that is why our farm stand is in our barn!
When we decided to open a farm stand we were planning on having a separate building, but that didn't feel right to me. I wanted to invite people into our space, I wanted you to be able to come and meet our animals, to feel like you were part of our farm. We were warned by many that this was a terrible idea and such a liability, we would be robbed blind and our animals would be in danger. Thank God I am not one to listen to others but instead listen to what I know to be true. Having the farm stand in our barn is what makes Sweet River Farm special, it's so much a part of who we are. So yes, we sell milk. It is our main source of income on this farm and without it we would not survive, but I want Sweet River Farm to be more that that, I want to be seen as a community resource.
I just had the nicest couple here taking a private milk class, I was able to spend time with them and show them the ups and downs of owning dairy cows and what that entails. I was able to share some knowledge and experiences that I have picked up in my time farming and hopefully helped them in the process. Teaching, helping, supporting, growing community is where I am in my life right now. When someone comes into our farm stand and spends some of their precious time with me sharing their stories and connecting with me I spend the rest of the day feeling full.
Jon and I have found an amazing community in our local church, the Deerfield Bible Church. A couple of weeks ago, the pastor spoke about the dangers of spending our life building up our own kingdom instead of God's Kingdom. He said “When we spend our lives building our own kingdom we just surround ourselves with ourselves”. Our pastor then asked “Are you building the Kingdom of God or are you building the kingdom of self?" The pastors words have stuck with me and I want to make sure I am not living a life of vanity and self importance. I think God is pushing me in a direction of community and having this upcoming dry season on our farm will allow me to focus on using our farm as a way to bring people together more, teach, share, learn and grow with all of you. I have some great ideas I will be sharing in the near future and am open to hear anything you would like to see at our farm.