Growing the Agrarian

Posted by Sara Dent on June 19, 2012 2 Comments

My adventures into Agrarianism started back in 2006.  I was broke and needed a break from work and the big city where I had grown up.  I lived right in the middle of Downtown Vancouver at the time, ran a photography studio, worked a couple contracts, and any extra time (which there wasn’t much of) I volunteered.

That first summer was a break like no other break.  Over four months, I lived on three different gorgeous B.C. farms.  I got over my fear of living in the middle of the forest when the owners of the homestead I was learning on, where there was only a radio phone and an electric fence keeping the bears out of the orchard- left to visit their kids.

Lib & Frank grow 80% of their own food. Fish comes from the Arrow Lakes down the way, chickens from the eggs (oops), fruit from the trees.  The orchard is to die for.  Seriously epic with several varieties of fruit grafted onto dwarf root stock.  You can harvest plums and apricots from one tree, or the crossbred plucots, and pears and apples from another.  I’ve had good fruit since, but never as good as the fruit from their trees.

The first food I harvested from the ground turned a light bulb on so bright in my head- I didn’t at the time quite know what to do with it.

After my time at Lib & Frank’s I landed in the Kootenays.  Thinking I would visit for a few days and then begrudgingly go back to the city and reality…  Within two days I had a job working at a local organic farm in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a vehicle to drive, and a family sized yurt to live in.  The next two months were spent harvesting daily and doing markets in Nelson twice a week.  I spent much time with the farmers, and sold a lot of food, and traded a ton of vegetables for other people’s goods.  It was my introduction to the gift economy- trading other people your beautiful things for theirs.  Why we don’t live like that more in the cities is beyond me.  Perhaps on the horizon we’ll grow up and learn how to share better.

Four months after leaving I returned to Vancouver.  I dove back into work and volunteering and kept the fire alive in my heart for farming.

In 2007, I volunteered at my first Power of Hope camp on Linnaea Farm on Cortes Island.  And visited Channel Rock.  I was fortunate to get into the Linnaea Ecological Garden Program in 2008, and my journey into agrarianism deepened.

The journey hasn’t stopped since Linnaea.  I have worked, visited and photographed dozens of farms, created a self-directed 2-year permaculture practicum, and am now teaching urban permaculture in Vancouver.

I long for the day when I return to the land.  When there isn’t so much work to do in front of the computer.  When the doom gloom of climate change has manifested into massive intelligent and collaborative agrarian action to live again with Nature – rather than against her. When our cities are vast gardens and when our countries are the ecological oases they once were, with diverse, resilient communities networked over time and space through shared values of food, water, and alive environments.

Abundance is ours if we embrace her.




sara dent

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