The changing of the seasons!

When I look at my weather app and see 10 degrees, it’s not so bad. Like, it’s definitely cold and I shouldn’t leave the tent without a jumper but I can manage. It’s crisp and delightful. That’s celsius though, in fahrenheit, which is how they measure temperature here, 10 degrees is -13. Bugger that! Get me out of the tent and into a room please.

It has been cooling down dramatically here in the North East over the past few weeks and with that our farming has changed. Some of our crops can stand the freeze so we let them be and some of them cannot so we cover them and hope for the best. It has been so cold though that not only are the leaves freezing but the ground itself too. It freezes and thaws which pushes root systems up and out of the ground, I have never seen anything like that in my life. Most of my life I have lived on the coast, about 10 minutes from world famous beaches, this was a whole new ball game. I have seen snow 3 times in my life, Year 9 school camp to Thredbo, Jerusalem 2015 and Manchester 2017. On Tuesday I saw it for the fourth time and it was absolutely magical. I was so excited and amazed that ice was literally falling from the sky and I was even more amazed when I was told that we would still be working in the field that morning! Surely not, my snot was turning into icicles, my toes losing circulation and I had snow dandruff all over my jacket, farming was not on my radar. I wanted to make snow angels and drink hot chocolate by a fire not put on 3 pairs of socks and harvest snow covered kale and Jerusalem artichokes before they became frozen solid in the ground.

I guess that’s just the reality of farming in the elements. When it’s hot we sweat, when it rains we get wet and when it snows we get…grumpy? I can’t find a rhyming word, grumpy will do fine. When you need kale for your salad and Jerusalem artichokes for God knows what, someone has to go and get it no matter what the sky is saying, it just happened to be that day.

This week we also went on a field trip out the Holyoke, Massachusetts to visit an organisation called Nuestras Raices (“our roots” in spanish). It is an urban farm project using urban agriculture to serve the needs of the Latino communities where they are based. They run educational programs for teenagers and families about healthy food choices and food justice in their local areas. Agriculture is a big part of their cultural heritage and an important aspect for feeling of self sustainability. They are answering a huge need in their communities for social, economic and racial justice. Being on their farm, working their land and understanding more about the challenges their community faces it was truly inspiring to see people taking responsibility for each other in what can seem like dire situations. Systematic change to a reality that makes access to food and knowledge based on socio-economics and race a struggle can be an overwhelming challenge to contemplate but knowing there are people working towards this sort of justice makes the fight a bit more welcoming. The fact that they are doing all of this through the lens of urban agriculture and community building really puts our Adamama project into perspective and challenges me to think more about what we will stand for and work towards.

This week we bared the harsh weather elements that were out of our control to change and we faced the harsh realities of inequality which are completely within our control to change.

“God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Heading into my final week here and the more I am being exposed to and learning is only making the potential for Adamama stronger and stronger.

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