Farmy Harmony

Visiting the Arcadia farm several days ago was a great experience for me. The farm is located on a plot of Mount Vernon land with some very interesting history. Originally it was owned under one of George Washington’s nieces. Eventually, a group of Quakers purchased it in an attempt to turn it into a model farm; one which profited sustainably and without the use of slaves. They were successful with this endeavor and inspired many into this new age of farming. I find it cool that the farm, with this history, now serves as a sustainable farm that gives back to the community.

The farm taught me a lot about the systems we can use to interact with the earth in a mutualistic way. In order to use land at the rate we (as humans) want to, we need to manually process the soil. Strategies were used to encourage plant growth and increase nutrients. We planted a type of radish ,which is especially good at fixing nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil, as a cover crop. It grows exceptionally long roots which are able to penetrate deep into the soil, into the layer of clay. Because clay retains moisture very well, it encourages the decomposition of these roots. Tilling the soil helps mix up all this organic matter as well as loosen it up and get some air into it.

Human’s are able to both make the environment work better or worse for ourselves. Regretfully, we typically fall towards the latter. We use up the Earth rather than simply use it. Greater, long term, results can only be achieved by working with the Earth. There is virtually none of Earth left that is untouched by our pollution (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141104-is-anywhere-free-from-pollution). Many places, and soon many more, will be beyond repair.

We require these sustainable practices, which are nowadays seen in only small scale, to spread worldwide. The mindset will change along with it and cause sustainability to accelerate exponentially. Just as the Quakers did, we can serve as models for the future. The revolution will not be televised.

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4 comments

  1. rogerwleblanc · October 29, 2015

    Bryan, it was a great seeing you at the Arcadia Farm Trip. Your involvement with sustainability volunteering is really outstanding – it shows a lot about your character and how much you care about this movement and the community. (Please keep track of all of your volunteer hours – it would be great on a scholarship app or a resume). I love the points you made here about the new things you learned about farming practices, and connecting this to the history of the land with the Quakers. And yes – the revolution will not be televised 😉 but with social media and the outreach we do on campus I know we can spread the word! – Roger

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  2. lessthan3emily · November 3, 2015

    Bry Bry dropping the knowledge up in hereee!! *Shout out to the quakers*

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  3. kelpea · November 3, 2015

    One thing that I find really outdating about sustainable practices is that people have not focused on how to make them efficient. In my sociology class, we often talk about sustainability and how it could be used in the global sphere. However, more often than not it is not used. This is because there just hasn’t been enough new technology to make sustainable agriculture efficient. We have billions of people on the planet, and with an increase in urban dwellers and suburbs, more and more people are relying on the smaller and smaller areas for food. These areas have to be quick and cheap. At this point, it seems that not much sustainable technology for agriculture has been utilized because of the cost. Hopefully one day, however, people will see how much sustainable practices can save people, animals, and the world.

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  4. meghannoble04 · November 3, 2015

    Bryan, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading about your visit to the Arcadia farm. I appreciate your post becusse you acknowledged the history which I think the world occasionally forgets about…every now and then. I couldn’t agree more with your statement about how human’s are able to make the environment work better or worse for ourselves. I really feel that man should tend to our environment instead of expecting magical turns to take place . After all, we are nothing without this universe so we might as well take care of it.

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