I knew I was kind of playing with fire, so to speak, when I posted a photo of our repaired wash table on the Slow Hand Farm Instagram account and wished for continued luck in avoiding ongoing vandalism. We weren’t so lucky and it ended up in a literal fire on Saturday. It appears someone was having fun melting a few of our bulb crates we had left bags with CSA shares for our members in. That probably caught the canvas painter’s tarps we use for shade on fire, and that fire melted the ABS drain pipe and a filler hose, and then jumped into the grass along our neighbor’s fence and nearly reached their big Doug Fir before another neighbor was alerted and found a hose to put out the fire with. I talked to the fire investigator, and he talked to the kids and at least one parent. Everyone seems to be of similar mind – we’re the unfortunate victims of something that’s a symptom of much larger problems in the community, and in our society in general and there’s not a clear or quick fix. (We’re also super lucky this didn’t happen a couple of weeks earlier before we had a good rain!)
Sunday I came out to the farm and spent a few hours cleaning up, and had some good conversations with good neighbors. I let our Monday CSA members know we’d be modifying our harvest a bit, using some other tables we have to set up a temporary wash pack area, and we were able to basically have a normal harvest and distribution on Monday. By Thursday we should be pretty close to back to “normal”, and I have a bunch of ideas for improvements to the area that will make it less convenient for random folks to hang out there (pluses and minuses to that, but mostly pluses for us).
Support from our CSA members has been fantastic, as always! Some folks have asked how they can help, financially or otherwise. “Donations” can always be made through the button at the bottom of slowhandfarm.com, or directly at the farm, but the reality is that we do budget a bit every year for random repairs and the materials cost here won’t break our bank. Labor wise, most of the work is done at this point and it was less than a day of labor – a benefit of simple, DIY construction to start with. We can always put volunteers to good use who want to help clean up around the borders of the farm, and we’ve appreciated everyone who has come out over the years to contribute to blackberry removal, moving piles of garbage and materials, pruning and trimming the fence lines, and all the other less glamorous tasks that make things more pleasant for all who visit the farm. Maybe we’ll have a more formal volunteer day one weekend this winter and really get the place spiffed up for next spring.
So much appreciation for all of the community organizations that are working with kids and families who are in tough spots. If you want to help out in a bigger way this is probably a good place to start, donating time and/or money to them. Voting in representatives who will expand social welfare – and I mean real programs that actually increase the wellness of society not the overblown examples that have turned that phrase into a pejorative for so many.
I’m reminded of MLK’s line in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Go support the Poor People’s Campaign and similar organizations to help all of us, you and me and everyone else, including whoever it was who set the fire on the farm. Just as the farm is a physical example of an alternative food system that shares its benefits broadly in the community, we need to reimagine and create the physical examples of the rest of our systems to create the good, clean and fair world we all want to live in.