Soulful Food

Evening is drawing close, and soon the full moon will be climbing the eastern horizon for its much-anticipated eclipse. I’m in the high tunnel at the north end of our main garden, swaying the watering wand back and forth over happy radishes, spinach, and arugula. The sandhill cranes and Canada geese call from the field, while a chorus of spring peepers and their other froggy companions sing from the creek in the opposite direction.

I settle into a calm feeling of connection and presence, surrounded by tended life. We’ve just wrapped up lambing season with 42 little adorable ones in the barn, the baby chicks are thriving and getting bigger every day, and the pigs are quite pleased with themselves as they munch on the mounds of weeds we’ve gleaned for them as we prepare the garden soil.

There is a deep soulfulness to all of this that makes regenerative farming such a valuable and much-needed method for how we tend the earth and raise food. Here are some thoughts I wrote earlier this week to share in our “Friends of the Farm” newsletter.

Soulful Food

What does it mean to choose soulful foods? It means knowing that you are pushing back against a system of industrialized production that sees animals as numbers and land as simply a medium in which to hold up crops in the pursuit of profits.

Soulful foods are grown in humus-rich soil, teaming with life,
Raised on rolling acres that are home to diverse wildlife as well as tended stock,
Plant and animal lives that have been sung to, comforted, and encouraged.

We speak of the love of preparing a meal nourishing the body and soul, but there is also the love of raising that food that nourishes our bodies, hearts, and the precious earth.
Soulful foods come from the hands of grounded people you can know and trust, people who stand in the face of all forms of weather and pressures that would bid them give up and seek an easier life.

Yet they refuse to give up because they know that soulful tending of the earth is the way forward in a wounded world, not only for their own family but for all.
Soulfulness chooses love and compassion, even when it is hard.

Today I’ll be back in that high tunnel, harvesting radishes for this week’s member shares. Running the ruby orbs with green tops under cold water to wash away clinging soil, I marvel at the stunning color and the floral aroma of the crispy freshness. Packing each of the shares, I think on the beautiful meals our member families will be enjoying this week, sending caring thoughts their way. There are a few spots left for a June-start in our summer program if you are interested in joining us.

As I come into our home after chores to wash my hands and change shoes to head down for breakfast at Farmstead, I pass by folding tables filled with seedlings. They reach and sway, soaking in the grow lights and morning sun slanting in from the windows. Peat pots planted in winter squashes are still meditating, planning their imminent sprouting emergence.

Nearby, my two incubators are humming, filled with eggs from my heritage turkeys. The first batch will start hatching this week—all wet and wobbly as they come into this world. Baby turkeys can be quite fragile, and I’ll be there to carefully help them through their delicate transition.

Everywhere you turn on our farm, there it tending in process—mulching rhubarb, seeding carrots, vaccinating lambs, cleaning coops, fixing equipment, and on, and on. So long as I am here, I shall never run out of tasks needing attention. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming, but today I’m choosing to accept that this is part and parcel of a soulful food practice. My task is to rise each day and do my best to attend to the process of being in this unique place at this particular time. Midwives, caretakers, orchestrators, sanitation workers…our family finds ourselves being all these and more each day. It is fully consuming and fully dedicated.

When you sit down to a meal of soulfully raised foods, not only can you taste the difference, but you can also feel the difference in your body. It’s a difference I wish everyone could experience and appreciate. Make soulful foods a valued part of your summer this year, knowing that both your body and the earth thank you. See you down on the farm sometime.