September 2019 at Wark Farm
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We're standing in the seasons change, that juxtaposed space of early autumn where the swallows hunt low round the cows in the heavy morning light while the first of the wild geese skeins pass over head. The epitome of summer mixing with the essence of winter. Ever changing and ever connected to the the seasons, life at the farm; we have a guest post below on farming with the elements
We apologise for lateness of this month email, we will be delivering this month on Friday 20th (Deeside, Donside & Aberdeen) and for collection from Banchory Farmers Market on Saturday (21st). You can also come collect from the farm and/or do some fridge browsing on Sunday (22nd, 11am until 2pm).
Guest post by SaM:
As farmers we live at the mercy of nature. Too dry, too wet, too harsh, too soft weathers, they all affect our harvests, our lands, the feed of our cattle,…. Within continuous changing circumstances, we navigate carefully, building up spares in better times for the more problematic times. Because problematic times will always come. That is the nature of nature. Just like captains of the sea need to be able to ride the storms, farmers need to be able to ride climatic change as well. Or else we will drown.
Within a world steered by powers out of one’s control, there are various routes to survival. One is the commercial route, where nature is suppressed and/or replaced by chemicals developed in sterile research centres, yielding a sense of control. Yet, this is a false illusion as it only moves uncertainty away from supplier to buyer. Uncertainty about supply and production for the supplier is replaced by unpredictability of ingredients for the buyer’s health and wellbeing. While the buyer benefits of low pricing and a steady supply, these are only short term benefits. On long term, it is unknown what certain chemicals will do to his physical (and mental) state. As organic farmers, we don't believe that this is the right route to follow. So we need to find other routes. One of them, are government support measures. It is not a secret that without these, the sector simply wouldn’t survive. We would be way too vulnerable to climate changes, but also to fluctuations in commodity markets. Yet, by itself, government measures will not suffice. Another measure which we can take is careful financial planning, meaning the mentioned build up of spares in good times. Within the same spirit, diversification is also very important. We try not to put all of our eggs into one basket. At Wark Farm, we’re not just farmers. We’re also butchers, we’re pie makers and we’re holiday flat lessors. Diversification is a very tricky one though. At the other side of healthy diversification is… lack of focus. Diversification means wearing multiple hats and keeping multiple plates turned in harmony. In order to make everything run smoothly, tight structures, controls and processes are needed. This is one of Wark Farm's largest challenges currently: after a year of rebuilding after the fire, after a year of redefining ourselves, we now need to further develop our systems, our processes and way of working. It's a necessity though. Because it's only if you have a solid base, that you can sail through any kind of weather. Whatever nature may bring. And that is how we will survive. And grow.