Sustainable Living: Agriculture and Anxiety

A goal that has kept me looking to the brilliant horizon of a painterly sunset, has been self-sustainability. I wish to reject consumerist living to build my own life. Money will become an object again, a tool I won’t need to utilize often. I’ll grow my own food, produce my own electricity, rely on myself, my family, my community, and the land. 

After I marry the love of my life next year, we will move to my family’s farm by the wild woods and swamp. From there we’ll begin integrating new solutions and eco-minded sustainability projects into the family business.

Slowly the focus will turn away from making money and spending money. Becoming as self reliant as possible, we’ll be able to further support our local and global agricultural world from a perspective of working with nature and sharing knowledge and resources. I wish to lessen financial anxieties, protect and educate our local community and build a home where I feel peaceful.

I will shift my family’s energy to reinventing this land to be at its most productive and long lasting, valuing the preservation of native flora and fauna in our work with ecological advancements. This won’t be a farm, it will be space for bees to pollinate and frogs to populate. It will be tended to and cared for but allowed to be exactly what it is— a small, beautiful part of earth. Eventually I’d like to dedicate areas for communal tiny home living, focusing on natural materials and minimizing our eco-footprint. I wish to promote art and horticulture in an eclectic market and free workshops, tours, educational events. When I officially move from the city back to the country onto the farm, I want to put energy into forming relationships with local indigenous craftspeople and artists. 

This isn’t our land, we’ve worked hard for it but as settlers our ownership of our property is a result of indeginous genocide. My blood immigrated here within the last hundred years and today my birth and presence in Canada is on stolen land. My family have been farmers since long before I was born, since my mother was born, we know the importance of earth and how vital this dirt is to our survival. There is a reason we call it stolen land— settlers have taken ownership of and destroyed a valuable and spiritual thing. Indigenous communities have struggled desperately to survive the colonial abuse and crime against their very humanity. 

It’s important to me that after I inherit this property that it’s function aligns with my values. If local groups need space to organize, to teach, I want to offer it. I want to foster communication and relationships with local indigenous groups and do my part in reparations.

Ideally someday both what was once considered property and the entire local landscape will become a safe haven for commune living, giving everyone the opportunity to design and build their own homes and make their dreams of simple self sufficient living a reality. Our space is limited but its potential will be maximized. 

I intend to view the farm as I would plan out a tiny home. Everything and every area will have multiple purposes, will flow in function and design. This will be a lifelong project but the purpose is to create a space that will give our children a better head start in this incredibly unsustainable world. 

Our space won’t be disconnected from the outside world, we don’t wish to isolate, instead I would like to host events and tours that will inspire and teach others. My child self still wants to save the world, if I can make an impact locally, that’s good enough for me. Our project will work closely with the community and like-minded organizations. Eventually, I hope to build a multicultural, diversely skilled, open space for creativity and working with nature. 

My traumas limit me, but also inspire goals far bigger than me and perhaps my capabilities. At the end of the day, if I’ve tried to do something that aligns with my values, I’ll die happy. As long as I do something. I can’t save the world, I can’t expect that I can even spread my ideas or amplify the voices and goals of others, or that it’ll be here or like this. I can, however, expect myself to try my best.

As a traumatized person, it’s vital that my home is safe. I must work to make my environment conducive to lifelong healing and growth. For myself, for my family, for the next generations to come, I will create a safe home. I wish to raise my children knowing that I’ve done everything I can to give them a happier childhood than mine.

My experiences as a disenfranchised youth struggling with housing security trying also to help homeless friends has driven a longing in me to accept all in need, to always have a free bed for someone with nowhere to go— but first and foremost, I need to feel secure that my children are around people I deeply trust as they grow up. I was abused by someone brought into our home when I was very young, someone who would go on to live with us for most of my life before I moved out. The fear I have that my children will endure the same suffering I have is so gut wrenching and soul shaking that I know I can’t comfortably open our doors and freely build healthy relationships with any who enter due to paranoia and trauma. There are certain risks to commune living that I’m not willing to take. 

There will be people outside our blood family who live here, as family is a larger definition than legal or genetic relationships— but I will have a solid trusting bond with them first. There will only be one or two people I will trust my children with alone, and I will be taking security precautions with our house and how my kids view the farmland. I was allowed to roam the property free from a young age and was left unattended in my house where employees and customers could easily have free access, this was without incident but left multiple opportunities for abuse or abduction. Terrifyingly, it was a family member who would hurt me, and later on a counsellor at a summer camp any parent would send their children to. The vast dangers of the world are part of what drives me to build this safe haven of sustainability. I know no one can protect themselves and their loved ones from everything, that tragedy and evil will happen despite your best efforts. My anxiety will no doubt affect how I raise my children but I know I will do my best, and my kids will know love and open communication. So long as they feel comfortable talking to me, I can work with them to keep them safe and happy. 

I want to make heaven.  Some part of my traumatized soul cries that if I work hard enough, think hard enough, I can learn to negotiate with nature and make something perfect. Perfection means that it works, it’s long lasting, it’s beautiful, and I’m proud of it. It won’t be easy and I’ll never be fully satisfied but that’s what motivates me. My dreams of solar panels and integrating technology with old ways of living are at the tips of my fingers, I’m making my connections and doing my research, and my dreams can become my reality. I can extend this happiness to others, open the doors of sustainable living to those who need it.

I wish to do my part in healing the earth. I want to make a full effort in diverting agriculture in an eco sustainable course, in making cultural reparations, in fighting capitalism, colonialism, and oppressive ideals in my personal life and in my life’s impact. I hope that long after I’m gone, the work done here will continue. I hope that the land will be managed by groups of people, that ownership will become null and slowly society will break down as we know it. I hope trust and peace will be known by my great grandchildren. 

When I’m dead, I want to know that I’ve done something good.

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