Thanks to my Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) training over the past couple of years, I’m quicker to reach for self-care strategies when I’m feeling bereft and hopeless. Instead of “checking out” (like I did last night), I look for opportunities to pause, and re-connect. What always sustains me is nature, especially edible gardening, cooking, and food stories.
I’ve been meaning to watch The Biggest Little Farm for quite a while, so I dove in this morning. What follows is not really a coherent blog post but rather a series of thoughts that arose.
(1) This film is worth a watch. We need these kinds of stories because food unites us and at the end of the day, we’re all interconnected. I need you and you need me (despite what the trolls on social media might say), and we need this planet. This film is a beautiful example of the messy, complicated fight that sustainable farmers are engaging in every day, all around our country. (Except with much, much better funding, right?) They deserve our patronage and support.
(2) The heartbreak is real. Whether it’s losing animals (a bloody, wretched experience we know all too well even on our tiny “hobby farm”), the round-the-clock battle to stay above water (and keep the pests and predators at bay), or the nearly insurmountable forces of wildfires and climate crises. The joy is precious, too. The births, the bounty. The Earth’s ability to regenerate.
“Because as we added cover, and life on top, a process of billions of years awakened… and they [healthy microorganisms] returned.”
(3) The Biggest Little Farm doesn’t acknowledge the historical and contemporary forces that deny marginalized communities, especially indigenous and BPoC people, right of return and equitable access to farmland. That’s not a criticism of this specific film, and it wasn’t its purpose.
However, we desperately need those films and stories, too. As much as I hate to admit it, I live in a silo (at least for the time being), out here on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. But that’s why I follow operations like MudBone Grown, Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery and Sylvanaqua Farm, and listen to the Racist Sandwich podcast. I could happily watch films like The Biggest Little Farm everyday, and also, films like the Red, White, and Black Documentary. Our food culture (and local communities) are richer when everyone has a seat at this farm-to-table movement.
The Biggest Little Farm film made me laugh and it made me cry. It made me want to eat, drink, garden, support local, and vote for food justice candidates, all at once.
And that’s all that I have to say about that. Except – Emma the pig and Mr. Greasy, the rooster? Ah, man. I miss my chickens.