Category Archives: VVR

A Millennial’s Perspective of Farming and the Future of America’s Food

Written by a Vernal Vibe Rise WWOOF Volunteer

During our 3-week stay at Vernal Vibe Rise, I witnessed one of the most admirable and humbling displays of diligence and dedication I have ever seen. We all have people in our lives whom we look up to for all sorts of inspiration (mentors or role models if you will), and Quincy is one of those few humans who will continue to inspire many people. When I was a kid, my mom would often tell me that anyone who works hard at anything will eventually reap the fruits of that labor. Sooner or later, it happens, and being at VVR was a much needed reminder of this lesson.

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I hope I don’t get too preachy, but please entertain my thoughts for a moment. I belong to a generation that has had to struggle with the consequences of the near-sighted decisions and assumptions that our predecessors made about our natural and human-crafted resources. While my generation has more gadgets and better access to information than ever before, we carry a large burden that no other generation has faced. We are having to deal with the consequences of carelessly mining natural resources, and we are realizing that mass-production coupled with an irresponsible “free market” is perhaps the most pernicious combination of social constructs that humans have ever created. Thankfully, the Internet has helped us see that there are smarter ways of powering our homes, fueling our vehicles, planning our cities, and growing our food. On the Internet, you will find that many hard-working people are helping to spread the word about the vast world of wiser alternatives to the way in which we grow our food and raise our livestock. Suddenly, urban farms are sprawling all across the country. Suddenly, farmers markets are sprawling in abandoned lots in various cities. But what I found most encouraging about my stay at VVR is that many of us are talking about these hard truths and quickly seeing that all the information and technology we need to make our world a more responsible one is already in our hands.

If we look back in time, especially to the humble, rebellious beginnings of this country, we can easily appreciate that social revolutions are slow to occur. But if there is one quality that characterizes this country over the centuries, it has got to be its undeniable ability to foster some amazing social revolutions. And it is pioneers like Quincy who take matters into their own hands and lead the rest of us into a transitional period.  I am grateful that people, such as Quincy, have fearlessly challenged the status quo by acknowledging that something isn’t right about the way we’re mass-producing livestock. It is inspiring to see that people are empowering themselves to do things differently.

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Meeting Quincy and her loving, collaborative community was an honor. Indeed, a reminder that anything is possible as long as you work hard and support your local community (be it by purchasing food from local farmers or, in Quincy’s case, by selling your product to local, small businesses). Quincy, I wish you nothing but the best–you’ve definitely earned it 😀

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With much love and appreciation,
Hugo

The best two to welcome me home to @vernal_vibe_rise at the end of last week. Their joy makes the 100 degree to 10 degree swing more manageable, for sure. Not to mention that hot, dry heat from my sturdy @vermontcastings #rescuestove #karakachan#farmeronholiday#selfcarewhilefarming#peoplecare#animalcare#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract #practicalreflection

The best two to welcome me home to @vernal_vibe_rise at the end of last week. Their joy makes the 100 degree to 10 degree swing more manageable, for sure. Not to mention that hot, dry heat from my sturdy @vermontcastings #rescuestove #karakachan#farmeronholiday#selfcarewhilefarming#peoplecare#animalcare#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract #practicalreflection

BARN of this Land

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This BARN. Every time I scoop feed, take refuge from rain or wind, store farm tools, or smell sweet local straw on my guardian dogs’ fur, it is tinted with gratitude for this barn. 
Even though I definitely hammered a few nails to help build this beauty, I see it as a gift from my brother @owenmcmichael —he coordinated the job and stuck with it until it was solid and dry enough to serve my needs. Along with my father (and some good help from @jelmcm and WWOOFer Lucas), Owen felled the trees, supervised and supported the sawyer, augered the post holes, stripped and set the posts, and built both floors with precision.

One of these days (after my wrists heal, for sure), I will follow through with my end of the deal by finishing the batten and sliding barn doors. My barn is both beautiful and functional as it is, and I know it will continue to learn—á la #stewartbrand —as the years pass.

#familyfarm
#redoak
#portablesawmill
#usewhatyouhave
#permaculturecommunity
#theproblemisthesolution
#designforthefuture
#permaculturefarm
#healthyfarmer
#selfcarewhilefarming
#truesustainability
#permaculture
#permacultura
#observeandinteract

The post-chores, pre- #writingclub breakfast today: a #cleanlocalplate of @tlberries greens and #bellsvalleyfarm #skirtsteak dressed with @vernal_vibe_rise #fermentedhotpeppersauce and garlic, as well as @paradoxfarm ginger and @jqdsalt 🥣@caitlinezellwaugh#feedyourself#feedyourbrain #provision#healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#holisticcommunity#permacultura #holistichealth#smartnothard#permaculturewomen #unsustainablefarmbook#theproblemisthesolution

The post-chores, pre- #writingclub breakfast today: a #cleanlocalplate of @tlberries greens and #bellsvalleyfarm #skirtsteak dressed with @vernal_vibe_rise #fermentedhotpeppersauce and garlic, as well as @paradoxfarm ginger and @jqdsalt  🥣@caitlinezellwaugh#feedyourself#feedyourbrain #provision#healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#holisticcommunity#permacultura #holistichealth#smartnothard#permaculturewomen #unsustainablefarmbook#theproblemisthesolution

It was just so dang beautiful out on @vernal_vibe_rise this evening. The dogs opted to stay at the barn, but I had a solid solo walk after a day at the table in my @scion_design permaculture studio. I scouted some spots for the remaining #pawpaw trees, to be planted tomorrow, and returned home with a feeling of fullness and gratitude. #cyclicalliving #livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

It was just so dang beautiful out on @vernal_vibe_rise this evening. The dogs opted to stay at the barn, but I had a solid solo walk after a day at the table in my @scion_design permaculture studio. I scouted some spots for the remaining #pawpaw trees, to be planted tomorrow, and returned home with a feeling of fullness and gratitude. #cyclicalliving #livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

Gather your empty bottles, because I am decanting #kombucha in preparation for the #winterbluesfarmersmarket2020 on Saturday. I will have samples, pints, quarts, and bottle-your-own (the best deal) available. If you have clean kombucha jars from last year’s market, return for $1 off your purchase. #probiotic#localkombucha #gutcare#selfcare#livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

Gather your empty bottles, because I am decanting #kombucha in preparation for the #winterbluesfarmersmarket2020 on Saturday. I will have samples, pints, quarts, and bottle-your-own (the best deal) available. If you have clean kombucha jars from last year’s market, return for $1 off your purchase. #probiotic#localkombucha #gutcare#selfcare#livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

I am learning, slowly by slowly, not to panic or struggle when the wind shifts course. My intention for this Solstice was to sit in community with a group of people for whom I have immense gratitude. Yesterday, that plan shifted. In my usual fashion, resistance arrived first. I had my plan in mind, had coordinated a number of other events around this one in order to create time for it, and accepting that it would not happen felt like a stretch.The good news is that I am in the habit of encouraging myself to meet the opportunity to stretch with willingness, and—though it took me an hour or so to adjust—I relaxed into the idea that my Solstice Saturday would be spent solo. The more I passively considered that idea, mulling it over unconsciously for the most part, the more enthusiastic I grew about the prospect of having an entire unplanned day by myself on the land I love. Having just taken a break for a #cleanlocalplate of @vernal_vibe_rise #sprouts + #homemademayo + #mustardpickles with some #eastvirginia tuna, I can report that my #solosolstice day continues to be amazing. Now, back out to squeeze in two more hours of #willow and #pawpaw planting in this balmy, late-December weather. And maybe a fire with the #karakachan pups after dark. It has taken me nearly a decade of farming to understand that rest is just as important as the work. Trust me.Happy Solstice, everyone, and know that I support you in finding some quiet time—solo or otherwise—today, to reflect on what has been and where we are going on this next trip around.#iateitbeforeicouldtakeaphoto#decemberplanting #mychorrizae #earthcare#farmcare#selfcare#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract

I am learning, slowly by slowly, not to panic or struggle when the wind shifts course. My intention for this Solstice was to sit in community with a group of people for whom I have immense gratitude. Yesterday, that plan shifted. In my usual fashion, resistance arrived first. I had my plan in mind, had coordinated a number of other events around this one in order to create time for it, and accepting that it would not happen felt like a stretch.The good news is that I am in the habit of encouraging myself to meet the opportunity to stretch with willingness, and—though it took me an hour or so to adjust—I relaxed into the idea that my Solstice Saturday would be spent solo. The more I passively considered that idea, mulling it over unconsciously for the most part, the more enthusiastic I grew about the prospect of having an entire unplanned day by myself on the land I love. Having just taken a break for a #cleanlocalplate of @vernal_vibe_rise #sprouts + #homemademayo + #mustardpickles with some #eastvirginia tuna, I can report that my #solosolstice day continues to be amazing. Now, back out to squeeze in two more hours of #willow and #pawpaw planting in this balmy, late-December weather. And maybe a fire with the #karakachan pups after dark. It has taken me nearly a decade of farming to understand that rest is just as important as the work. Trust me.Happy Solstice, everyone, and know that I support you in finding some quiet time—solo or otherwise—today, to reflect on what has been and where we are going on this next trip around.#iateitbeforeicouldtakeaphoto#decemberplanting #mychorrizae #earthcare#farmcare#selfcare#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract

To those dedicated and intrepid people who made time for the #winterbluesfarmersmarket2020 on Saturday, Thank You. I enjoyed sharing #lardlips and #kombucha and other live-fermented farm products with you. We had some great conversations and made connections that will live into the future. And to whichever vendor felt the need to chuck their unsold microgreens into the dumpster, please consider sharing them with a hungry person, livestock farmer, or avid composter next year.#feedyourneighbors #localkombucha #gutcare#lipcare #selfcare#livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #permaculturewomen #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

To those dedicated and intrepid people who made time for the #winterbluesfarmersmarket2020 on Saturday, Thank You. I enjoyed sharing #lardlips and #kombucha and other live-fermented farm products with you. We had some great conversations and made connections that will live into the future. And to whichever vendor felt the need to chuck their unsold microgreens into the dumpster, please consider sharing them with a hungry person, livestock farmer, or avid composter next year.#feedyourneighbors #localkombucha #gutcare#lipcare #selfcare#livepermaculture #permaculturefarm #permaculturewomen #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #holistichealth#observeandinteract

The Solstice freeze and I baked a cake for the heritage #dominiquechickens and #delawarechickens to enjoy on this new morning. Organic #sproutedgrain and a dusting of #diatomaceousearth and #thorvinkelp to finish. Delicious!#patissierfarmer#lecordonbleutaughtmewell#heritagechickens#heritagelivestock#earthcare#manure#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract

The Solstice freeze and I baked a cake for the heritage #dominiquechickens and #delawarechickens to enjoy on this new morning. Organic #sproutedgrain and a dusting of #diatomaceousearth and #thorvinkelp to finish. Delicious!#patissierfarmer#lecordonbleutaughtmewell#heritagechickens#heritagelivestock#earthcare#manure#theproblemisthesolution #designforthefuture#permaculturefarm #healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#permacultura #observeandinteract

Late-winter uglies in my clean, local skillet: near-equal parts @vernal_vibe_rise lard and #grimesgolden apples, as well as some apples from @alisonpottery and #dildahliefarm with @jqdsalt #dontworrythisisntalliameatingforbreakfast#woodstovecooking #cleanlocalplate#feedyourfriends#provision#healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#holisticcommunity#permacultura #holistichealth#smartnothard#permaculturewomen #theproblemisthesolution

Late-winter uglies in my clean, local skillet: near-equal parts @vernal_vibe_rise lard and #grimesgolden apples, as well as some apples from @alisonpottery and #dildahliefarm with @jqdsalt #dontworrythisisntalliameatingforbreakfast#woodstovecooking #cleanlocalplate#feedyourfriends#provision#healthyfarmer#selfcarewhilefarming#truesustainability#permaculture#holisticcommunity#permacultura #holistichealth#smartnothard#permaculturewomen #theproblemisthesolution