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Organic outlaws, part III

Read Organic outlaws, part II »

Teetering on the edge of graduation—once thought of as a spring board to opportunity, now considered the edge of a vast precipice—I had to ask myself, why? Why was I in Nevada City living in a tent for two weeks?

To me, this is perhaps the most exhilarating time in history to be alive. Tomorrow, or ten years from now, the decisions we make today will resound in ways we must wait to comprehend. Just as DeQuincey, Twain, and Wordsworth strived to achieve in their own lives, we try to reach some sort of understanding of the world most foreign to us—the world we often fight to keep at a distance. Putting one’s self in a situation where getting out becomes the challenge, journey, and reward is where real learning happens. It’s in this lonely state of uncommon circumstances where, as humans, we can hope to learn more about our world with the goal of positioning ourselves today in a place where we can make the most change tomorrow.

I’ve learned that farming isn’t solely an occupation. Like other activities or hobbies, with it comes a culture—a unique lifestyle that caters and provides for the individual while simultaneously empowering the community. My aim was to experience and understand a lifestyle where people live with the land rather than simply existing upon it.

My intention in writing this brief series of posts was to make people understand that connecting with food can be a path to rebellion. By living a healthier lifestyle, you are investing not only in your own life, but also providing an example for those around you.

Get excited about growing food; reduce your cost of living, be healthier, be satisfied with your work, coexist with one another, recognize the corporate hand around your neck, and pull it off one finger at a time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this experience all means. I’ve come to realize that work-trade opportunities on farms are a great way to get involved. Working together with local organizations is essential to making a sustainable change. And it’s something we can all participate in, whether we live in Nevada City or right here in Portland. The Urban Farm Collective (UFC) is a Portland based nonprofit that connects people to small-scale urban farms and gardens where people can volunteer their time to work on a number of different sites around town and accumulate hours that equate to produce shares. The more hours you work, the more shares you earn. It’s a self-proclaimed barter system that allows you to get hands-on experience in the garden while providing access to the food you, and other volunteers, have helped harvest.

Remember: no farms, no food, no fun.

Thanks to everyone at Living Lands Agrarian Network for making this possible.

Grant Neely is a senior English major at Portland State University.

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