whose farm? whose table?

Soil conditions and water rights and land history and mountain views and new food model visioning and lemon balm savoring and greenhouse wondering and driving and walking and bike path lusting and dinner dreaming.  I spent the day running around the Roaring Fork and Crystal River valleys looking at land and talking with ranchers and learning this land and the people of it. 

Friends, we’re ready.

Something shifted for me today about internalizing the fact that there are people who are aligned with the vision of The Guest House and prepared to manifest and enact that vision.  There is a farm and there is a table ready and our work right now is about where it is and what we shall put on it. 

And it got me thinking….a lot about land and table and even the language we are using right now about the connection of our food and land.  Jason – a rancher in the valley – and I were talking today about how this innovative model we are envisioning is actually the old model – one in which our table was intimately connected with our farm which meant that in cold seasons we ate boiled potatoes and dried meat for several weeks out of the winter.  A table in which we only ate food that was actually able to grow on our land, in our climate.  We’ve learned a lot about food and cooking and preserving and fermenting in the last one hundred years which makes us more capable of serving a varied, beautiful table even in the winter months.  But we say the phrase “farm to table” still a bit too easily.  Its been a growing step for us all for sure – a moment of coming back from an ongoing cycle of industrialized food in which eating food that comes from a place that we can actually name and locate on a map is a revolutionary act.  But we’re never content to stop asking questions, the next question, the new wonder about our world and how we can do better by it. 

And the next questions I’m asking are Whose farm?  And Whose table? 

Which farmer grew that sorrel and how did he end up on that land?  what was the history of that land before she landed there?  How far back has someone been cultivating it and what was it before then?  What makes it possible legally and financially for it to be a food producing plot now?  What makes it hard?  And where is that table?  Who built that table and who is invited to it?  Is it in a home or in a restaurant and if in a restaurant, why have they chosen farms over industrialized producers?  What is the inspiration for joy at that table?  And who serves it?  What are people excited about as they come to that table?  Who are they with and what are they celebrating? 

Maybe these are too many questions for dinner.  Certainly more than I asked before I sat down this evening with my lovely friends and wine.  But this is where we’re heading.  We’re hungry for more than just calories.  We’re hungry for compelling ways of living in this world and relating to this land and caring for each other.  And we’re setting that table.

seth o'donovan