J500 Media and the Environment


The Path to Enlightenment is Through This Goat Pen by jenh
March 25, 2008, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , ,

Last night, I returned home late from squeezing in hours at the farm I’m moving to with my partner in June. We spent all day helping her father move new goat kids and their mothers from pen to stall, stall to nursery, nursery to pen. They look like this when they are about five days old:

New goats

It’s hectic, exhausting, mucky, work. About a dozen kids were born yesterday, and another eight today. That means a lot of running around as we help coordinate the many births with the few stalls available for mothers and kids to bond together during their first 24 hours. We learn the new ways of this work via fresh straw, buckets of water, screamin’ baby goats (man they can wail!), and lots of bodily fluids.

We are juggling this farming life with our day jobs as best we can. We are remodeling and renting out our city house while remodeling and buying a farmhouse. It’s never-ending chores, and we’ve only just begun. So I asked myself last night as we drove home, why do this? Why work so hard, when it would be so much easier to get up, go to an office job, go home, watch tv, eat take-out, drink a beer, stay numb and go to bed?

We talked it over, and it comes down to living a conscious life, one where we are aware of the impact of the choices we make. It means having a passion for for that life. For me, that comes from a belief so strong in a human right to have food security, that I am willing to change my life to make it happen – even on the smallest scale, one that is now but a glimmer of a vision for a tiny organic, sustainable farm.

Providing accessible, healthy food for ourselves and others takes on greater significance with every article I read about food security. Right now, there are global food shortages and increasing prices worldwide for the foods many cultures hold dear, let alone need to survive. In Egypt, the cost of bread is up 35 percent and cooking oil 26 percent. The price of pasta in Haiti has doubled. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization expects prices to continue to increase for another 10 years, and the poorest of the world will suffer the most. Already, the U.N.’s World Food Program says it’s facing a $500 million shortfall in funding.

I’m not so naïve that I think I’m solving world hunger or anything like that. But I do think that working this hard for good, local food options is what helps me sleep at night. (Being wiped out from double-duty and all that conscious living helps, too!)

Sometimes I feel like I’m giving up a lot to change my life this much. Members of this blog have discussed several times that sacrifice won’t convince others to join you in going green. But I ask you — what would you be willing to change to reach for a greener goal close to your soul?

– Jen Humphrey

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4 Comments so far
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Jen,
Your post is poetic. Thank you so much for sharing what this means to you. As hard as all this seems, your framing indicates you are not giving up something but, rather, gaining a lot. After all, you frame the alternative view as staying numb (which sounds a lot less fun than bringing screaming babies into the world and, yes, I realizing I am romanticizing here). For me, that is of utmost significance.
There is a lot of stuff going down in the world that we need to take care of. If we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and feel guilty, it is very hard to get mobilized to do anything. But if we recognize the opportunities in what we are doing, if we do “soul” work and align what we do with what we care about, I think we will have much greater success.
Simran

Comment by j500

You know, breaking out of that numb phase is the hardest step. It’s so easy to keep putting one foot in front of the other, stumbling along, and then five years go by. Or eight or ten. I’m glad that we’ve been fortunate to discover early on what would help us find greater meaning in our lives. It’s not easy and it feels like plunging off of a cliff, but so far, so good. -Jen Humphrey

Comment by jenh

[…] this post? Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay up to date.Editor’s note: Jen Humphrey, a student participating in the blog project by Professor Simran Sethi’s Media and the […]

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