We thought it wasn’t okay to be political as a business. But we have to say this.

sunflowers and a cloudy sky

The day Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election, I wrote this:

I used to think it wasn’t okay to be “political” as a business. I didn’t want to offend anyone (read: I was scared of being judged).

But the truth is, organic farming is political.

Under the outgoing administration, organic standards have been attacked and reduced, and most recently the organic cost-sharing program was suddenly cut from 75% to 50% even though the bi-partisan Farm Bill directed otherwise. And that’s nothing compared to the structural inequalities and discrimination BIPOC farmers face.

The politics of food has serious implications for everyone who eats.  How we feed ourselves and each other matters. How we tend to the land matters.

Today we celebrate how the seeds we sowed, the postcards we sent, the calls we made, the money we donated — it’s all come to fruition.

There is so much work to be done, and we’re here to be part of growing change. Here’s to the work ahead: to equity and equality, to environmental action, to growing a world that nourishes our hearts as well as our bodies, from soil to soul.

Now, in the wake of an insurrection led by white supremacists, the amount of work is laid bare once again.  

As organic farmers, we see quite literally how everything is connected.  From earthworms to fungi to soil to water to plants to us to you — food connects us.  How we produce food affects the environment.  How food is accessed (or not) affects individuals and communities.  

We also see everyday how resilient, healthy farming systems grow from diversity.  How carrots and tomatoes help each other grow stronger.  How monocultures can only survive when propped up by herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, which in the end lead to degradation.

Organic farming isn’t so different from democracy.  

It works when we create connections, tend to those connections, and show up again and again to reach the harvest together.  It works when voting is accessible by all.  

It works when we’re willing to look deeply at the places where pain has been inflicted, to listen to those who carry that pain, and to do the work of composting grief and violence and injustice into recognition, healing, and justice.  

In the spectrum of farming, industrial agriculture is the opposite of organic, trading polyculture for monoculture, cutting away diversity to make way for acres and acres of the same crop in the name of efficiency.  

White supremacy is the monoculture of society: promising to feed the world, but degrading it instead.  Promising high yields as it pollutes entire ecosystems.  

Even as I write this, I can hear the whispers of white supremacy culture telling me why I shouldn’t share these words.  That I will surely offend someone and that offense will harm my business.  That I should just stick to farming so I don’t lose my audience.  That what I’m wanting to say will not come out cleanly, and will hurt those I want to help.  

What use is a voice if it’s not spoken? 

What use is an audience if I don’t write? 

What use is this farm and our mission to make local food accessible if we’re not willing to look clearly at the systems that have brought us to this moment? 

Systems that reinforce and depend on the inequality that we purport to fight.

The ideal of perfection and getting it right before we say anything is another weight of supremacy that works to keep us from speaking and trying.  

But the truth is this:

We are better because of each other.  We thrive when we support each other.  

So at Good Heart Farmstead, we will continue to write postcards and make phone calls to voters and elected officials.  We will continue to use our voices.  We will continue to learn how we can do better.  We will continue to show up over and over again, even when it feels like it’s not enough.  

Because everyday, seeds prove to us that size does not predict impact.

The world we are growing towards is one of equity and equality.  One where white supremacy falls and gives way to antiracism, respect, and love — a beloved community.

Just last week seeds arrived in the mail.  

A year’s worth of harvests in two cardboard boxes.  Imagine.  Imagine all that will grow when we tuck them into soil, when we water them, when we tend to them day by day, season by season.  So many mouths will be fed.  So many hearts will be filled.

Thank you for being part of this growth.

12 thoughts on “We thought it wasn’t okay to be political as a business. But we have to say this.”

  1. Every day, to me, seems like a tennis match bouncing back and forth between hope and change, and fear and uncertainty. Your words come from a place of love and encouragement and I feel like we need much more of it. Today, more than ever, we are feeding on cheap gossip, shock and awe, and other peoples misery, just like we are fed cheap, nutritionally vacant food. I love organic farming and the wonderful, caring , giving people who fight for it, practice it, and support it. We need more of you feeding our mind and body what we need to be healthy.

  2. Hello Kate and Happy Birthday Edge! Thank you for sharing your honesty with all of us! I know not everyone will agree or support and there will be judgement from some. As you stated in your blog, what good is a voice if it’s not spoken. I appreciate the courage it took to speak up and share your views. It is time to act and to speak up. Cheers!

  3. Hi Kate!

    Thank you for speaking up, writing out and bravely saying what your heart feels. In this crazy polarized culture, it does take much bravery. I’m presently taking an online course offered by Sterling College’s – the School of the New American Farmstead collaboration. It’s entitled: Surviving the Future: Conversations for our Time.
    There are about 100 of us coming together from different parts of the world, in part, to discuss David Fleming’s book: Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. Very interesting, and hopeful, read. And in another part we meet to discuss ways to move forward and create the culture that you speak of – honoring equity and equality, anti-racism, respect and love. So many people doing incredible things – humbling and hopeful. Just like you and Edge and Waylon doing the vital work of building community, feeding bodies, hearts and souls. Thank you, so very much, Kate!
    And my heart goes out to you saying goodbye to your precious Pebble. In your heart forever…
    Love, Kerri (Hansen)

  4. John Snell just sent this powerful message from you–like Wnedell Berry, you understand that working the land and loving it carry the responsibility to be a truth-teller. Thanks so much!

  5. I’m cheering you on Katie. Silence is acquiescence, is tantamount to condoning the actions of those who despoil people, economies, ecosystems, and the planet.

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