May 25, 2015

Today’s 20-Something Suburban-Turned-Farmer Generation.

farm 2

But first! Fun relephant bonus:

“A friend shared this slide from her class. The difference between urban, suburban, and rural.”


The materialism of mindfulness keeps floating to the surface of my life these days.

I find myself questioning the intent of my actions.

Friends debate the significance and impact of mindfulness entering our consumer driven society.

McDonalds is coming out with a new McKale salad, Walmart is on the decline, and Monsanto are shaking in their boots.

Mindful materialism is the ego’s greatest trick to date, fool’s gold; a confusing concoction, boiling down to our intentions. Vegetarianism, local and organic food, yoga, and going green are trending with the masses, and I choose to be content.

We might not be completely educated or opinionated on political issues, the products we use, or our environmental impact, but there is a shift happening within many of us, and though we may not be fully aware, it seems to ignite from the heart.

American youth have found a new fascination: millennials trading in their city life and cubicles for a walk with nature.

I am a first-hand-incubated-suburban-college-graduate, currently stationed south of the Smokies, learning about life on the farm, permaculture, Appalachian mountain trades and life style.WWOOF is an online directory that matches up organic farms with eager farm hands all over the world. I am grateful that an organization such as WWOOF exists to make this opportunity so readily possible.

In just three short weeks I have learned skills I will carry through my life. I’ve gotten over my ridiculous fear of every animal biting my fingers off and made numerous friends, like little Grace the goat who quickly stole my heart.

I’ve learned to sheer goats and sheep, and to clean, dye, spin, and knit their fiber. I’ve planted just about every vegetable imaginable, used my carpentry skills in barn construction, and am now fully versed in fence installation.



As above, so below, farm life is of course not all roses.

I stared death in the face as a little piglet died in my arms of pneumonia. I renewed my vegetarian beliefs as I said goodbye to a dear friend Tom the turkey at the dinner table. I came to the farm with an open mind, willing to be a part of the “processing” of an animal. But as Tom’s hour grew near, I couldn’t be a part of it, couldn’t witness it, couldn’t even hear it.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir

The kinesthetic skills I’ve gained on this farming adventure were anticipated. Unexpected has been my newfound connection to our Earth.

We have many tools such as mantras, mudras (hand gestures,)  our breath, and repetitive motions to help tune into our inner stillness. But I’ve found the long, hot days with my hands in the dirt planting beans to be my sharpest tool in the shed.

I have tapped into an abundant gratitude for the life all around us, the life that nurtures us.

Perhaps college grads and their iPhones will soon be headed to a farm near you, and for good reason.  We are seeking what our society has withheld, a sacred connection.

We are questioning our diet rich in GMOs, and the corporate robots we’ve become. Trendiness cannot begin to contain the conversations and meditations shared with nature.


Relephant Read:

The Urban Farming Renaissance. ~ Matt Mellen


Author: Jill Cimasko Berte-Renou

Editor: Renee Jahnke

Photos: Author’s Own

Relephant bonus:

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