Dinner at D Acres Permaculture Farm in Dorchester, NH is an informal, collective affair. When the bell rings, quests and staff arrive at the dining area as they can. I was midway through a delicious meal when Josh Trought, founder of D Acres, filled his plate and entered into the general conversation. At one point he turned to me, “I’d like to sit and talk about your question, but I have a few things to do after dinner. Why don’t you tag along, and we’ll talk when we’ve finished, if we’re not too tired.”
After we put up our dishes, Josh showed me the summer kitchen and greenhouse en route to scalding four turkeys. “We have too many wild turkeys here, and they have few predators anymore. It’s turkey hunting season, so we get a few every day.” I watched as Josh and two staff dipped the turkeys in a vat of hot water and plucked their feathers. The showy creatures looked pretty pathetic when bald. Then, they hauled the carcasses into the kitchen to gut and prepare them for freezing. Six or eight people were involved now, staff and guests alike. I watched the first two, but fatigue trumped curiosity and I realized I was too exhausted to engage Josh in a meaningful conversation, so I went to bed.
The next morning I was up before group breakfast. While I ate on my own, I perused Josh’s book and found a passage that not only describes potent ideas about tomorrow, and also illustrate how I watched him operate. I realized that he had answered my questions through his actions, rather than in words. Josh will live tomorrow much as he does every day: continue to create the sustainable farm and education center he describes in his book, The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm.
How will we live tomorrow?
“The mainstream perspective demeans manual labor, minimizing the importance of people’s efforts to provide their own essential needs. Success in our culture means freedom from the responsibilities of the natural world…. At some point soon our education and culture must revalue physical work. We need a higher percentage of the population to engage as farmers and shepherds in mutual relationship with plants and animals. The cultivation of food is an act of care for the people and land, rooted in history and cognizant of the future, that requires the presence of human labors. It is through these empowering and enabling physical exertions that we can maintain our connection toward each other and nature.”
Josh Trought, The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm