New Agrarian Voices

Learn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.

Charlotte, APPRENTICE, Tooley’s Trees, NM

Reflections after the First Month

 

Before I wanted to be a farmer, I wanted to be a social worker. Understanding people, discovering why they are the way they are was one of my first passions in life. Quickly, I realized we are all sick, very sick, and it’s not just the people who are suffering. Our current economic system and our farming practices deprive the land and our people from the true meaning of wealth and prosperity. I initially found interest in agriculture out of pure desperation. I was depressed, addicted and could no longer be confined by the walls of my work place. My journey to find what feels good began with food. I realized the food I consume directly relates to the way I feel, the way I look, even my thoughts. 

I was raised in Boston, filled with overeducated people, with fat wallets and little concern of our current economic model. I found it extremely difficult to locate affordable, fresh, and local produce. And even more difficult to locate members of my community who understand why we are all suffering. I am a city kid, sitting in a brick building looking for a way out. I know the system doesn’t have to be like this. I want to be a part of a movement that wants to change our culture. I think that changing the way we eat food, cultivate food, provide food for our community is the first step towards the paradigm shift our society so desperately needs.

Colonization is a virus that has plagued the western society we live in today, same tricks, new games, less land, more people. From its birth we have lost the ability to connect with our environment, our peers and the natural world. The natural world is suffering and so are we.

I carry an intuitive urgency to learn about regenerative practices. I hope to someday apply these practices to human systems. I wonder how regenerative practices can offer solace to those who struggle with mental health. I wonder how these conceptual practices can be utilized in current institutions. During the Victorian era in the UK, it was common for asylums to own farms or gardens on site. Providing occupational work for clients, and fresh produce for the institution. Agriculture was used as a resource and therapeutic tool for patients that suffered from mental and physical disabilities. Sadly, as the industrial revolution created rapid change in threads that hold our society together, these hospitals also changed their practice.

 I have a dream to open an urban farm for people who struggle with addiction.

During my time at Tooley’s Trees, as bask in the knowledge of my mentors, I recognize there is only so much I can learn within 8 months. Grafting and pruning trees, plant identification, irrigation maintenance, and understanding how water moves, are just a few elements of the farm I am learning about. All are aspects that connect to a much greater picture.   Ultimately, I hope this experience will allow me to make connections. understand a circular economy, a system that isn’t based on the circulation and distribution of money, but a system that makes decisions based on the resources at hand, decisions that are rooted in respect for the vitality of all living things.

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