Welcome to LiveNLearn Everybody!
(Sonamed for the moment but the title is open to debate and I welcome any other suggestions.)
I’ve started this new blog to recount my adventures on Luxy Farm. I hope to share what I learn with you and keep you entertained with my activities. I also hope to continue this blog in the hopes of continuing to learn and sharing all of it with you. Whether I work on another farm, or start a community garden of my own, or create a greenhouse room, I would like to keep blogging about what I do and be a source of nutritional/environmental information. I would also welcome any and all of you to comment whenever you wish, whether it is to ask a question, provide some information or start up a debate.
So welcome! This is my only post so far. My next two posts will be about:
1) My first week on the farm and (found in weekly updates, along with many others)
2) Why I decided to come work on a farm (found below)
Why did I decide to go work on an organic farm, you might ask?
Many people have thought me crazy to miss out on the summer in Montreal, making money at The Keg and saying goodbye to my friends and family yet once more. For what? To get up at 7AM and work an 8-10 hour day, rain or shine, and receive barely any pay for it. That’s crazy! But to me it’s not crazy because I feel as if I am getting paid richly; rich in experience!
Why is this experience so important to me? I will tell you. And I think I will tell it to you from the beginning.
**If you would like to skip the long story which I realize I have just written, you can get to the point more quickly by jumping ahead to the two asterisks(**). However, if you have the time and are interested in my ramblings, please be my guest and keep reading.
I believe this story starts with a professor from Cegep (I could probably go back earlier, but I might put you to sleep, so to keep it short(er) let’s start with Cegep).
I had no idea what I wanted to apply into for University. I was fed up of the sciences, much to my father’s dismay, I did not want to become an engineer. At the time I knew what I didn’t want to do, but I had no idea as to what I did want to do. No one program stood out more than another. My last semester at Vanier however, I had this awesome math teacher who was taking a night course at McGill, in environment. He talked to me about it and it sounded really interesting. And so I applied to McGill’s School of Environment. I also applied to the Nutrition and Physical Therapy programs, which would have been my preferred choices at the time, but I was rejected due to having studied Pure Sciences and not Health Sciences. I could have transferred programs once accepted but by that point I was so fed up of school that I just wanted to graduate as quickly as possible. So Environment it was! And I am now very glad that that is how things worked out.
As much as I wanted to avoid sciences, I did apply for a Bachelors of Science with a major in environment. However, within that, I chose the domain that was the most “artsy”. That way my father would be somewhat happy that I was at least receiving a bachelors of Science but I could still take the courses that sounding interesting! And so I studied “The Ecological Determinants of Health” which focused on the interactions between humans and our environment; how humans think of, understand and affect the environment and how the environment affects us. I had a lot of interesting courses and a lot of interesting teachers. After my first two years however, I still didn’t really have any clue as to how I was going to apply the knowledge I was acquiring, or what field I would work in. In my second to last semester however, I took a class called Environmental Thought, in which we learned, as I had learned in many other classes as well, that the main cause of environmental degradation is human behaviour (which is very difficult to change), and more precisely our consumption habits.
But yet, here we were, all studying environment, hoping to graduate in order to get a job in the environmental field. A job, which would provide us with money so that we could continue to participate in our consumer society! Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in that?
Now at the same time, I was also doing a minor in international development, because I am somewhat of a humanitarian at heart, and wanted to help those in need. I am thankful that international development is no longer just about imposing our ways (our consumption habits) on other societies. I am also thankful that the focus is now on learning from and working with communities and letting them decide what is best, instead of trying to have them follow in our footsteps. I was actually strongly considering working in the international development field instead of the environmental field. However, I eventually realized that one of the better ways to help people in developing areas was not to go there and work with them in developing a better way of life but instead perhaps, it was to stop participating in our consumer society which is most likely one of the main reasons for why they suffer and are “underdeveloped”.
**So to sum up: After having studied environment and international development, the main lesson I learned, and left school with, is that our consumption habits and consumer society are a big problem! A big problem that has caused much environmental degradation and contributed to the overdevelopment of some countries and underdevelopment of others. And I came to the conclusion that the best way for me to alleviate these problems (or so I feel) is to try to stop participating in our consumer society, and in a sense, remove myself from it.
But how was I to survive without money, the basis of our consumer society? Many of us feel as if we couldn’t. We use it to get food, to pay for rent and clothes, and almost everything else we do. But really, to survive, all we need is food and water. Shelter and clothes are needed if you live in a colder or harsher area, but in some areas you could simply survive on just food and water. But how many of us know how to grow our own food or survive in the wild for that matter? I certainly don’t know how (or not yet at least). And so I’ve decided to learn how.
Now I’d like at this point to mention the other important lesson I learned in school: there is no absolute truth or right/best answer. And therefore I cannot say that I know what is best. As much as I like to debate, I do not try to push my values onto others or dictate to people how to live their lives. “To each their own” I believe. And in the end, I also believe, that we are all very insignificant (maybe not to each other but in the grand scheme of things), and our decisions even more so. And so I am writing this blog to share my ideas and what I learn with everyone. You may read some of it or very little of it, you may connect to all of the things I write or none at all, and you may choose as you wish to take out what you want from all of it.
Another important point I’d like to mention is that I realize I can be idealistic at times. And while idealism is not very practical I do believe it can be important. For instead of giving up hope on having a better future/world and simply complying with the way things are, I like to believe in the possibility of change and the world becoming a better place (whatever “better” may be).
And so, with practicality in mind, I do not plan to live naked in the wild, completely off the grid and never touch money again. Even though that may be what is best for the environment, I am not completely crazy (nor perfect). But I do hope to live a self sufficient life as much as possible. I would love to build my own home, using recyclable and environmentally friendly materials and energy sources. I hope to live a simple life that is not filled with “things” but instead filled with friends and family, laughter and great memories.
Therefore, one of my present goals is to learn how to grow my own food so that I do not have to pay for it. And I do not feel that I can simply learn this from a book. I am also slightly scared to just jump into it and hack at it on my own. And so I have decided to work on an organic farm for a summer, to see it how it’s done and receive structure, guidance and advice. Will I use what I learn to live off the grid, to have a small garden at home for personal use or to start up a market garden of my own as a profession? I’m not sure what the future will hold but I do know that at the moment I am listening to my gut and am happy about it.
The END 🙂
But I would like to make one last comment:
I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today without my parents. They have supported me in all my adventures and endeavours , whether or not they agreed or understood them completely. They have always only wanted what is best for me. I am so thankful for all that they have taught me and all the directions that they have pushed me in for I wouldn’t be here without them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!