My guest for the episode is Wayne Herring, owner, along with his wife Katherine and fellow family member Michael, of Herring’s Green Grass Farm.
Wayne spent the last several years growing his pasture based meat operation while also being a steward of the land. This has not been an easy path, as you’ll hear, because, like some other farmers, he works off-the-farm during the week and returns to home each night to continue tending his animals.
Wayne also happens to be my wife’s cousin, so I got to speak with him about his farming and sample some chicken at a family event. Ever since then I’ve wanted to interview him because he’s doing the work of starting a stewardship farm from the ground up in the best way he can.
In our conversation we cover the early days and inspiration that bring us to this moment, and what it’s like to continue the transition to farm full time. Along the way we also talk about his inspiration to become a farmer, the truth of profit and loss in farming, and the role of community in getting started and continuing to grow.
As with all of my guests, I’m thankful for his candor in this conversation, his willingness to share the ups and downs of what he’s doing, and what the life of a new farmer is like.
Community support holds a great deal of meaning to me as I look beyond the visible structures of permaculture and to the invisible ones. While putting together this show I received Wayne’s newsletter and in there he offered support, and recommended his customers attend, a local farmer’s market to help bolster the beginnings of the market. Throughout the independent and small scale producers I see this mutual aid occurring. As we take care of the earth and ourselves, doing what is matters to us, raise ourselves up Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, and fulfill the first two ethics of permaculture, it becomes easier to have a surplus to share, and with it to help share our surplus and help the needs of others. We then offer a hand-up through our knowledge, experience, and gifts, that teaches someone how to grow food and live a better life.
As we share the surplus, it’s easier to limit consumption. You can make better choices that aren’t drastic or hasty, and in turn care for the Earth in a better way. Care for you self and your family and friends in a better way, freeing up more resources to share with others. Once this ball gets rolling down the hill it becomes ever more self sustaining, which is important because it’s easy to teach and understand the physical sides of permaculture, but those invisible ones, being intangible, are hard to grasp. I think the roots of the invisible rest most firmly in the ethics of permaculture.
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