Small Beginnings

A young man, a small-scale Mojave Desert rancher in his thirties, often says “farm talk is the great leveler.” He feels that the elemental nature of the farming and gardening experience is a way to overcome difficulties of all kinds. When people disagree on deeply held beliefs, political, religious, or otherwise, turning to mutual discussion about growing of food and spending time in nature tend to bring our disparate viewpoints closer together. When we ourselves or our friends are passing through difficult times, “farm talk” (or “garden talk”) can exert a healing influence.
Rainshadow Farm Learning Collaborative is an experiment that began by learning together, on a farm, how to raise food in a challenging and marginal environment. Our experiment ended up being an educational, social, cultural, and ecological adventure by a diverse group of people who learned a substantial amount about one another, about the land they inhabit, and about how to pass along the local and sometimes traditional knowledge they gained together.
Why spend time learning about ecological principles in a garden or on a small farm? We set out to discover why it might be a good idea to include farm/garden pedagogy in sustainable environmental education at Rainshadow Farm, in the southern Mojave Desert in California. A desert is not necessarily the first place someone might think about when drawing up a plan to create a farm-based learning center. However, marginal landscapes, like a high-altitude desert, do offer challenges that can stretch a learner’s thought possesses and can generate new and even pioneering insights about ecological agriculture, sustainable agriculture, cultural similarities and differences, and sustainable food systems.

Rainshadow Farm Winter Project February 2011

Rainshadow Farm Winter Project February 2011


About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in socioecological intelligence, sustainability education, sustainable agriculture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Small Beginnings

  1. rainshadowfarm says:

    Reblogged this on Rainshadow Farm Institute and commented:

    Small Beginnings

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