The calendar now reads September, but it has already felt like fall. I keep thinking about the way we box ourselves in with matrices. If we didn’t have a Matrix that divided reality into months, we would already know that the fall season has begun. The acorns are large and dropping; winter squash and pumpkin harvests have begun; cannabis is fattening on the vine.
I know farmers who are already harvesting early season Afghanica dominant strains. This is a good thing because the market is hungry. The demand for quality cannabis has continued to increase over the last years, even as has supply. Each appears to have trended in somewhat linear fashion, maintaining a static “organic” relationship in which both have expanded at similar pace. All the cannabis always sold every year, but this is the first year that demand has seen a significant outpacing of supply.
The elephant in the room is buyers from markets east of California. We still live under an absurd Federal Prohibition system that will go down in history with the same ignominy as did alcohol Prohibition.
The Power of Branding, Market Share and the Public Forum
Farmers have been caught in a commodity brokerage war because we never had the ability to market and brand ourselves. Successful buyers increased market-share, purchasing larger and larger lots for which they demanded cheaper and cheaper per unit prices.
Farmers got squeezed into a commercial paradigm, and many followed the “get big or get out” advice of Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz. I’m applying these concepts to the cannabis industry, but it is clear that these same practices have been used to beat down all farmers.
In the last year, we at HappyDay Farms wagered our future on the public mentality. We realized that our path to a sustainable organization had to traverse the public forum. We believe in the triple-bottom line that honors on equal footings the ecology, community and environment. In putting ourselves out there for the world, the response has been incredible and supportive. We are invigorated to continue our work as we continue this magical journey around the sun.
Life is a series of cycles that can be woven into an elegant choreography. By focusing our efforts on timing and appropriate action through loving intention, we join the cycles in ways that accent our abilities and manifest greater human potential. We each have this ability but we have not been taught to access it in this way.
Linear American Perspective vs. The Cyclical Perspective
As Americans, we’re taught to see the world in linear fashion, Point A to Point B. In reality, the world is a circle, a sphere, a cycle. Life is trips around the sun, through the seasons, with the delicate inevitability of time and potential.
A focus on the cyclical rhythms of life yields a traditional human existence that provides a meaningful framework for addressing the world, even as the modern pace continues to accelerate. Grounding ourselves in traditional principles of seasonal production and consumption anchors our spirits to the bedrock of reality, providing necessary foundation for loving, intentional action.
We’re taught to be Mind-Centric, meaning that we focus our attentions on the needs of the mind as we go through the day, listening to the mental chatter of the inner monologue. I find that the best advice I receive comes when I still the voice and focus with intention on my present action. Washing dishes can be an act of annoying mental chatter or a peaceful stillness that manifests quality planning processes.
I would posit something I’ve been thinking about for further dialogue: Consciousness, not the mind, should be used to make decisions. It’s the difference between leadership and management; the mind is a tool that is useful for managing decisions that have been made with clear and open presence by an aware consciousness. The trouble is that we Americans are taught to use the mind for decision making because we aren’t taught to be open to the deeper consciousness.
Mind for management, spirit for leadership. Eckhart Tolle notes that the mind is the most powerful tool possessed by a human being, but he points out it is still a tool. Tools have off-buttons and require an operator. It is of planetary necessity that we break the hold of the mind and realize the depth of the inner stillness that exists beyond.
One of my teachers taught me to ask: “Where does my next thought come from?” And to answer myself in truthful understanding “from the stillness within.”
Seek the stillness; the Peace of Awareness. This does not mean forsake your troubles; it means understand that your unique, incredible spirit is greater than any troubles that may be put in front of it.
Through the deepest of sorrows comes the greatest of understanding. We share this human journey together, seeking the peace of enlightenment. We find it in the simple pleasures; the infinite beautiful works of this mysterious universe. Even in the concrete jungle elegant beauty is just awaiting the discerning eye.
As was noted by Milton many moons ago, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” My two months in county jail were some of the most reflective and educational days of my life; time is what we make of it and the mind is a tool.
Breaking Out of the Deliberately Broken Food System
A focus on building good energy and transmitting the potential of human spirit into actualization leads us to look at what we put into our bodies. The industrial food system sold the human potential of millions of individuals for profit, consigning them to lives of obesity and disease through deliberate policies that enriched a corporate class by watering down and adulterating the foods that made us “as American as apple pie.”
We turned meat and potatoes into genetically modified organisms full of hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues which have traveled up the food chain infecting our bodies and making us the first modern generation likely not to live longer lives than our parents.
We are three generations into a profound breaking of human connectivity to the land which is the source of all sustenance and human energetic capabilities. We don’t know where our food comes from, and we don’t have the foresight or ability to care. I’ve been there; too much stress, too much work, too many bills. But we’ve got to start somewhere.
Food for Fun
It begins with re-prioritizing what we do for entertainment and the things on which we spend our money. Starting with some lettuce in planter boxes on a rooftop, apartment balcony, or windowsill is an excellent way to gear in. It’s all about trial and error; I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it is fun.
If we did define entertainment as “gardening, farming or food production,” we would engender a shift in budgetary capabilities. Slow and quiet at first because it takes investment of time, energy and learning to return to the ways that made healthy humans, but the change occurs. Life exists in a series of feedback loops; engaging in the sources of your food creates a positive loop that leads to a more fulfilled existence.
The analogy is one of moving into a house that has ragged carpet over beautiful old hardwood. It’s time to scrape off the trappings of modernity (commercialized purchases of useless things) and use modern technological capabilities to produce happy, functional lives.
Reconnecting to the Cycle
We live in both the richest and most poor nation in the world; we have more material goods and less happiness. We’re the most overfed and undernourished; we’re the least connected to the sources of our food.
We have much work to do; finding out where your food comes from is a good place to start. Local farmers are waiting for your dollars; if your dollars are limited, seasonal shopping and purchasing bulk from farms to store for later is a great way to stretch resources.
Farms also need help with the work, but we need people who are committed. This doesn’t mean every day, but it does mean pick something and stick with it. Maybe you could work two or three hours/day 1 day/week, but do it with consistency. The biggest issue for farmers with volunteers is the turnover/training factor. We can always use extra help from folks who know what to do, but it takes a while to learn your way around any farm.
Finding a farm you feel comfortable helping out at (and to which you are willing to make a commitment) will lower your overall food costs, provide an educational experience, and up your life-happiness quotient in dramatic and surprising ways. We have a human duty to express our energetic potentials; we do this by finding our way back to the old ways, bringing the Promethean Fire of modern technology with us.
Much love from HappyDay Farms, 9-4-15