Y'all - we have big news! We're proud and excited to share that Little Seed Farm has been named the 2022 Conservation Farm of the Year in Wilson County by the National Resources Conservation Service!
As many of you know, our primary conservation practice is rotationally grazing our goats on pasture and maintaining a 100% grassfed and organically fed goat herd. Rotationally grazing helps restore impoverished soils, increase carbon dioxide absorption, reduce erosion, and protect waterways, among many other benefits. In addition to our grazing practices, we have also planted an acre in permanent flower meadow and protected 40 acres of forest adjacent to the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. We work day in and day out to do what we can for our environment on the farm, and to reduce human impact off the farm as well. Being recognized for that work is truly an honor and we are so thankful for the NRCS is partnering with us for that process.
Apprentice yourself to the Earth
Listening to an interview with one of my favorite herbalists recently, Kami McBride, I was moved by a suggestion of hers: "Apprentice yourself to the Earth"
When James and I made the leap from Fashion Designer and Financial Analyst in NYC to regenerative farmers in Middle Tennessee, we wholeheartedly, albeit quite naively, apprenticed ourselves to the earth. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
Before finding land and leaving our corporate jobs, we "studied" farming, holistic systems, regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainability. We read Alan Savory and Eliot Coleman on the subway. We crammed podcasts by small farmers at night after work. It all seemed so simple, so elegant, we were confused as to why EVERYONE wasn't farming in this way… And then, our apprenticeship began.
We knew the theory. We had prepared ourselves as best we could, but we soon realized that even the most painstaking research and planning meant very little when mother nature was in charge. Anyone that works with the land knows that as beautiful and inspiring as nature can be, it can also crush you. The circle of life is perhaps the most grueling and harsh of teachers, and in our first year, we experienced all of it. The highs of first births, first successful rotation, first garden, alongside the lows of pigs escaping about 10x a day, the goats also escaping and eating the entire “first garden”, unrelenting drought, tornadoes, rattlesnakes, illness, death and more! We began to understand why not everyone apprentices themselves to the Earth.
But then, just as we were beginning to wonder if we would make it, something happened. Family came to help us build a new barn, neighbors introduced themselves and offered to help make hay, we made farmer friends at a pasture walk, Chrisy Luna from the NRCS came out to visit and made helpful suggestions... We realized that all around us, a network of support had been forming. We had community! We realized that we could accept help, that we didn’t have to push through everything by ourselves. Weathering the ups and downs, the learning curves, and all the rest became a part of the journey rather than the end of it.
Our planet, Earth, is awe inspiring beyond description. Ecosystems functioning in symbiosis, trees and fungi supporting each-other through the mycelial network, bioluminescent fireflies synchronizing their flash patterns to communicate by sparkling, brilliant butterflies pollinating breathtaking flowers... These are real things! Working directly with the land, there is a remembering that happens that is, perhaps the greatest gift of choosing this kind of life. You remember that you too are nature, your bones too are made of the minerals in this dirt, and you, as well as the bees and the grass, have a place in the symphony and rhythm of this planet. You remember that humans aren't by default extractive and destructive, that we too can play a role in preserving, restoring and renewing. And you also remember that we were never meant to do it alone.
Creating a sustainable future for ourselves, our children, and our planet depends on us supporting each other. Apprenticing ourselves to the Earth is the best decision we ever made, it has created a fulfilling and meaningful life, AND we couldn’t do it without our community. All of this to say THANK YOU! Thank you to my amazing partner and best friend James for being you, thank you to our family for always being there and our kiddos for putting up with us, thank you to our team for living this dream with us every day and pouring your care into it, thank you to our customers for spreading the word and championing our farm and products, thank you to our friends, neighbors, and everyone behind the scenes for offering your help, hands, and hearts, and thank you to everyone at the NRCS for the work that you do and the work that you support every day. It gives us hope. We are so honored to be recognized in this way, thank you!
- Eileen & James