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Some photos from my recent life.

I don’t often find myself thinking about Myers Briggs personality types. Perhaps that is simply an aspect of my own personality. But over the past few days I’ve been thinking about mine a lot. I’m an ENFP, which may be an “Ah-ha” kind of moment for some or a “huh?” to others. The ENFP stands for Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving. Here’s a little blurb on my personality to bring you up to speed. (Feel free to jump down past the quote if you are already bored.)

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system. ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it. ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They’re constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP’s life, and because they are focused on keeping “centered”, the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values. Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivious to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP’s family members.

I wrote at the beginning that I don’t usually thing about my personality type, but when I do I am reminded of two things: 1. I am driven by deep sense of values. and 2. If I cannot connect something with these values it becomes less and less of a priority to do it. I jump head first into something that interests me. I’ll read and research and experiment and talk about the things that I’m passionate about. This blog is a small outlet for that, but if you know me in person this would make all the more sense. My wife, an ISTJ, can attest to this. In fact, she is probably smirking and rolling her eyes as she reads this. It has only been in the past few years that I have embraced this part of my life and have tried to find ways to celebrate it.

When I get something in my head it can consume me. All of this should bring you up to speed on my past week. I found this posting for a hotel/restaurant in New England looking for a farmer. It’s nearly an ideal position for me. We’ve traded emails and I’m waiting to hear back from him. I’m trying to get some more information about their expectations. I don’t know whether or not they would think I’m qualified to come out and farm for them. I don’t know a whole lot about what they are looking for, but I’m driving myself crazy thinking about it. I check my inbox with an anticipation of finding an email from them with more information. I’ve been thinking non-stop about what would happen if they wanted me to come out there to work. Would we stop school for this opportunity or hope another comes around?

I’m consumed by these thoughts; I wish I could simply let it go, but I don’t know how. Does this make me sound crazy?

This afternoon a big storm came through and along with it pea sized hail.  We weren’t home when it it came through, but from the looks of it it hailed for some time.  I lost my entire garden.  Tomatoes, eggplants, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, bak choi, red cabbage, broccoli, broc rabb, orach, peas, spinach, and arugula.  Not to mention daises, lavender, verbena, lobelia, and a few other flowers.  Here’s some pictures of the damage:

hail damaged beanshail damaged dasieshail damaged tomatoeshail damaged red cabbagehail damaged pak choi

I’m really sad that all the work and effort I put into starting all the plants from see was destroyed in a few minutes of hail.  Some plants I wont be able to put back in the garden.  Peas, for instance wont grow fast enough to get a harvest from before it gets too hot for the plants to set fruit.  I don’t think I’ll be able to grow tomatoes from seed starting this late in the season.  I think I’ll be able to put everything else back in, but it was frustrating because I was really close to being able to harvest some things.  It’s sad I lost my garden, but I’m worried for some of my fellow farmers whose farms are right in the path of the storm.  I hope that they didn’t see this kind of damage.  It’s sickening to think that a 30 minutes storm could wipe out months of work.

Oh well, I guess tomorrow I’ll start cleaning things up and planting again.

Let me clarify that title a bit.  I’m not physically moving.  I’ve started another blog, so I’ll be moving over there.  But I’ll still be posting stuff here.  I’ll be posting stuff that has to do with food at the other blog.  Man, that was confusing.  I should have used a different title, huh?

If you’ve been around me much you should know that I’m really into food.  I like to grow, cook, and eat food.  I know that some of you don’t really care about any of those things, so I figured I would put together a blog specifically for those things.  So I did.  It’s called “Field and Table.”  Click the link, bookmark the new site, comment often, and whatever else you do with amazing blogs.  That last part might be a stretch, but you get the point.  Stop by and say “Hi.”

In an hour I begin my internship on a 3 acre organic farm.  I’m really excited about the opportunity.  I spent last summer as a landscaper, which I enjoyed (for the most part), but I was often wishing that I was pulling weeds from vegetable plants rather than lupines.  Don’t get me wrong, I think there is great beauty in an ornamental garden, but that isn’t why I’m studying horticulture.  I want to be apart of solutions to fixing our broken food system and economies.  I want to work with people who are growing real food for people who aren’t used to eating real food.  I want to help people see that their kitchen has more than just a freezer for frozen dinners, and a microwave for “cooking.”  I want to help people see that there are choices that they can make that are better for their families health, their communities health, as well as the earth’s health.  I’ve been trying to write more and more about all of this stuff for the past year, but have struggled to find the right words to use.  I want to be able to share my thoughts with reasons and statistics, rather than simply conviction and passion.  I think that is why I’ve struggled to write about these things before, and I’m going to make a change over the summer.  For my internship, I’ll need to be writing reports and speaking about my time on the farm, and through that I think I’ll be able to fine tune my thoughts.

Well, I got to go jump on my bike and head to the farm.
I really like being able to say that.
I hope you all are well. peace.

This morning I will start my career as a farmer… sort of.  This year I will be working with 8 other people for the Rocky Mountain Small Organic Farm Project.  The farm itself is 8 acres of certified organic land that is used by Colorado State University for different research and study projects to better understand the particular micro-climate of the inter-mountain west.  I will be involved with two aspects of the farm: the 3 acre CSU CSA, and researching effectiveness of 150 different variety trials.  Along with these two projects going on at the farm, there is also some research being done on organic hops growth and overwintering processes, perennial small fruit production, and green manure and living cover crops.  Here’s a link to the specialty crops page at CSU.  I’m really excited about having the opportunity to be a part of what the school is doing.

I’ll be working there as much as I can over the summer and through the end of the season in October, but I will be taking an Organic Chemistry class for 8 weeks throughout the summer so I wont be able to work full time.  I’m particularly excited about this because I think it will help me think about some of the routes I will be able to take when I graduate a 2 years.  I’ve struggled with the idea of studying Horticulture for a few reasons.  First, my interest is mainly in food crop production.  I don’t have an interest into running a greenhouse for a nursery, or want to do landscaping.  And second, I don’t see myself farming.  Sure, I’d be excited to work with someone for a few years on a farm, but I am most interested in cultivating connections with people and food.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to spend some “off-farm” time connecting with CSA members through newsletters, maybe a blog, and through face to face connections.  I’d love to be able to interact with the members by swapping recipes for the more unusual (re: not found in most supermarkets) vegetables.

I should probably get going.  My coffee is gone, and I should grab a little breakfast before I head out.

I feel as though I have been really busy lately.  I don’t know that this has truly been the case, but I feel tired and lazy.  I don’t like it.  I’ve been so lazy that I’ve got 3 tabs on my Firefox browser that have been in place since Monday that I haven’t taken the time to read.  I’ll get to it, hopefully, but I thought that maybe I could post the links here then you could read them and let me know what they are all about.  It’s a win-win, really.  I win because I’m posting a blog post, and you win because you get to read some good stuff.

I just realized that the three posts that I’ve been holding onto are a pretty good representation of three of my biggest interests:  natural and sustainable foods, gardening and food production, and thinking about the role of a pastor other than through the lens of a CEO.  So here you go.

The Food Renegade blog is a great blog that talks about food that is good for you, good for the growers, and tastes great.  She is a renegade against industrialized foods that have shown up on the scene and have brought with them increases in heart related disease.  This post is called “Real Food Hits the New York Times”.

The New York Times has an article about gardening in a “slow” way.  Gardening in a way that works with the natural seasons and climates rather than forcing things into place.  Check it out, “Slow, Cheap, Easy, and Green”.

And lastly, a post by Scot McKnight at the Out of Ur blog.  Scot is using a book entitled, “The Pastor As Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life” to talk about the role of the pastor.  I really like Scot.  I’ve had the chance to meet him on a few occasions and have really enjoyed our conversations.  Plus, he’s a Cubs fan.  Read “The Poetry of Pastoring.”

Read them and get back to me ASAP.  Thanks.

p.s.  I find it a bit ironic that WordPress’s spell-check doesn’t recognize the word “blog” as a correct word.

Last night I spent a few hours looking at the time and credits needed to finish my degree.  At this time I’m working toward a degree in Horticulture with a focus on specialty food crop production and taking classes for an interdisciplinary study on organic agriculture.  I’ve tried to put into words why I’m studying horticulture, but I feel as though there is still a large part that I cannot yet put into words and when I try I find myself bumbling on.

I’m interested in the practicality of growing food for people.  I want to understand how food grows and participate in growing it for people who cant grow it for themselves.  But I’m also interested in what people should grow for health benefits.  It might be fun to grow lettuce, but if you have a limited space to grow food is that the best use of your space?  These are questions that I think about.  Is there food that people can grow that will be more healthy for them to grow than for them to buy at the store?  The third piece to this is the preparing food part.  I’m surprised at the stories I hear about people’s fears in the kitchen.  It seems that the people who cook food for their family (with an oven, not a microwave) are the minority.  I think that if people are going to grow food that is healthy they should be equipped to prepare it.

Studying horticulture is one piece of this puzzle.  The preparing food part is something that I don’t know that I can necessarily pursue as schooling option.  Culinary school, as I have seen, focus of training people in classical forms of cooking.  What I am interested in is basic cooking skills.  I want to help chip away at fears people might have with cooking.  Teaching people how to make foie grass is not practical when most of their meals on a weekly basis come from the microwave or a fast food kitchen.  The nutrition aspect of all of this is something that I recently found out I can do something about.  CSU offers a minor in Nutrition, and it’s open to any major of study.

I’m seriously considering dropping the organic agriculture study and picking up this nutrition minor.  It seems like this would be really beneficial in helping me look at the nutrition aspect of food at the same time I’ll be looking at the growing process.  I’ll take classes like: Human Nutrition, Nutrition Assessment, Community Nutrition, Nutrition in the Life Cycle, Integrative Nutrition and Metabolism, and a few others.  Sounds fun, huh?  The potential downside to going this route is that there is quite a bit of argument of what is really “nutritious.”  There are studies done to say that butter is bad for you– you must use margarine.  Other studies say that raw milk is better for you than pasteurized milk.  Much of the conversation sound similar to the organic vs. conventional farming argument.  But I think that in the end, having a minor in nutrition will give me some building blocks to work with.

Picking up a minor in nutrition seems to clear some of the fog that is my future career, but there is still a lot that is still unknown.  I feel like I’m heading into uncharted waters (although I don’t claim to be unique in my pursuits) know that there is a destination somewhere in the future even though I cannot see it from here.

I have a Google Alert set up for a number of phrases: Micro-Farming, Vegetable Garden, Farmers Market, Emergent Church, Missional, and Organic Farming.  Throughout each day Google sends me an email for each Alert with links to news articles and blogs that were written in the past day about each of these topics.  Most of the info I stumble upon because of this service is helpful, however there is quite a bit of information that is poorly thought out and trite.  This is the internet after all.  For the past month or so I’ve become a bit annoyed with some of the “news articles” that come across the wire.  Most of them have this title:

Organic Farming Can’t Feed the World

I’m not really arguing whether or not this is true.  I don’t know whether or not organic farming can feed the world.  What bothers me is that conventional farming (farming using chemical pesticides and herbicides) isn’t feeding the world either.  When this news articles is written is comes across as though conventional farming is doing well to feed the current global population, but it isn’t.  People are still dying because of lack of food.

The truth is that an organic farming does need more land to cultivate the same amount of food as a conventional farm, but there are so many factors that go into that statement that sit below the surface.  Primarily, organic farming believes in building up the soil so that the next season the soil will be healthier than the previous.  This is not a concern with conventional farming.  Aslo, and perhaps the biggest factor, the Western Diet is not sustainable because of the waste associated with it.  Westerner’s throw away an incredible amount of food to support our way of eating.  Rare is it to find someone who saves food from the night before to actually eat in the future.  It is more likely to put some left-overs into a Tupperware only to throw them out in the future.  This is just one example.  If we learned to cook only what we were going to eat.  And buy only what we will eat.  And be conscious of what we are buying.  Not only would our grocery bills go down, but so would are trash piles.  There is another factor in this, too.  We Westerner’s eat more than we need to. Which seems to beg the question:  If we didn’t live on a diet larger than we needed, could organic farming feed the world?

Any thoughts out there?

Here’s a few quotes from Mr. Berry:

“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?”

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility.  To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”

And here is my most favorite poem from him:

Peace of the Wild Things
“When despair for the world grows in me,
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
or grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”


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