According to Wikipedia, the truncated phrase, “It takes a village” comes from the African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” The saying and its attribution as an “African” proverb were in circulation before it was adopted by Hillary Clinton as the source for the title of her book. The proverb originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb “Ora na azu nwa” which means it takes the community/village to raise a child.
Being a father raising a toddler and suburban a farmer have many close parallels that, if you are paying attention, suburban farming can be a huge resource for learning, growth, and building community. Learning everyday is common for most people and both children and farming are endless sources of learning. Growth can be challenging for adults because growing often involves changing and adults do not like to change; moreover, adults easily get comfortable in day-to-day routines; however, both children and farming force change upon you if you want to be successful. Building community is an idea that only a few would consider taking on as a serious endeavor; however, children, by the fact that children need socializing, getting to know your neighbors and your community happens almost automatically. Focusing on suburban farming and noting that if I make the proper efforts in the right measure at the right time then Yummy Tummy Farms (the farm) will naturally yield a dividend of larger community building.
Although, I am not quite ready to actively walk around my neighborhood and formally introduce myself, my farm, and my ideas, every step towards developing the farm moves me closer to community building. In starting my apprentice program, a pioneering effort that now another very large and very famous “Lovely” farm is now copying, I took my first step towards building community on a very small, but manageable scale. My hope is that by paying attention to my Apprenticeship Program and going through some “on-the-job” learning about group dynamics as it relates to a suburban farm, I can better manage my larger community building efforts through Yummy Tummy Farms in the near future.
My Apprentice Program agreement is a very simple old-school Journeyman to Apprentice style exchange of sweat equity traded for tuition-free intensive farming classes. Here are some pictures of the successful Yummy Tummy Farms Apprenticeship Program working on transforming the front yard into a lush food-producing area with suburban or urban curb appeal; moreover, you might remember from my past posts, I want to inspire my neighborhood to plant a food-producing area in their front yards too. Here are some pictures of the Yummy Tummy Farms Apprenticeship Program: the first picture shows an apprentice learning about vermi-composting, that composting using worms and the second picture documents two apprentices learning about building the nutrient content of native soil and mixing mushroom compost into our new raised beds.