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Apprenticeship advice.  RSS feed

 
Gary Mumford
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Hey, y'all.

I'm currently interning/apprenticing at a former organic farm as I will one day soon go and farm near to my home, heart, and community - but this post isn't about me or my aspirations necessarily.
The apprenticeship has been great and I've learned a fair amount in my time here but I was made to apply herbicide to sweet gum stumps today and was quite taken back.
I don't really know what to say or how to go about this as I feel that this compromises the entire farm and the little permaculture based methodology that the farmer uses.

Other than this I've seen nothing but respect for the environment and this disconnect has me pretty bewildered. I want my farm to be a permaculture organic certified market farm and this is something that
would be certainly prohibited not only because of the 'rules' but it's something I disagree with. I don't want to scurry off like a rat as I feel like I would really screw the guy over but I feel like my ability to take this place as serious as I did has been skewed.

Are there any permaculture based market farms in the southeast that do long term or seasonal apprenticeships that you guys know of?

If you were in my shoes what would you do?

Thankya!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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If I understand you correctly, you say this is a 'former organic farm'? I assume you mean they used roundup or something like that? Applying herbicide would definitely, at the least, cause someone to lose their certification. I am glad to hear your thoughts, you will be a reliable source for organic food. Too many folks think they can be 'mostly organic' or 'organic except for a little round up'...it ain't so. And I think in growing 'beyond organic' as permaculture encourages is a set of whole life principles not just some rules to follow or bend.
Our electric company uses something called Krenite a brush control agent and have convenced many it is just a salt and not to worry. They think we are crazy to clear by hand and maintain our own power line right of ways. good luck!
 
Gary Mumford
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Yes! Roundup is exactly what was being applied. I know it sounds silly but it really hurts my heart. I feel bad for the farmer I know it has to be eating at him too I don't understand why someone who considers themselves a steward of the earth could do this without blinking an eye. He had to have known how I felt just from our former discussions. I see a good parallel with yoga in the USA with this. People think they can do yoga on Tuesday nights or just go get relaxed with a good exercise routine but it's a way of life and realization to be a yogi is to realize the whole of nature and it's been turned into power yoga and YMCA meetups instead of a holistic spiritual practice, if people were informed I bet it would upset them.
 
Alice Kaspar
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Several thoughts....

1. Applying Round Up to a stump is a waste. Round Up is to be applied to foliage, so all he did was pollute the soil. Sad.

2. Yoga is what the practitioner wants it to be. I want yoga to be exercise. I'm not upset to know it is something else for others.

Namaste.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Gary, I am wondering if there is a way for those in your situation to refuse a task on certain grounds? I am guessing this comes up a lot in different volunteer and paid positions. We are planning to have volunteers over the summer and I would expect them to question a task they were uncomfortable with.
 
Gary Mumford
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Judith, I will certainly refuse to do a task I am uncomfortable with on the grounds of ecological soundness if it occurs again. I was just taken back as this was a distinct disconnect from other ideas the farmer has portrayed to me. In retrospect I should have said something right then and right there but as a young farmer with less than a year of actual experience it is easy to fall into a mentality where questioning a reasoning for a certain practice seems futile with so little hands on experience and events to draw from or reference. I would encourage you to tell your interns to question all of your practices even the ones that are time tested and sound.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5955
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
377
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
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Gary Mumford wrote:Judith, I will certainly refuse to do a task I am uncomfortable with on the grounds of ecological soundness if it occurs again. I was just taken back as this was a distinct disconnect from other ideas the farmer has portrayed to me. In retrospect I should have said something right then and right there but as a young farmer with less than a year of actual experience it is easy to fall into a mentality where questioning a reasoning for a certain practice seems futile with so little hands on experience and events to draw from or reference. I would encourage you to tell your interns to question all of your practices even the ones that are time tested and sound.


One thought that helped me "question authority" is the realization that I don't have to come up with another solution in order to speak out against a practice or an idea or an action. A lot of times solutions come once you have defined your principles and set your bounderies. And you are right, even time tested and sound practices need shaking out and rethinking occasionally. Keep us posted on your activities.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
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Location: FL
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What would I do?
Would I consider the action a violation of my ethics?
Would I proceed to violate my ethics?
Are my ethics for sale?
With this is mind, what would you do?

Setting aside personal ethical issues for a moment, you have the opportunity to observe how easy it is to place faith in technology. You also have the opportunity to gain an objective viewpoint on why the owner of the operation made the switch from organic to chemical agriculture. In order to avoid temptation, it can help to know what sort of temptation is out there.


 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Perhaps the best way to proceed is to simply ask him, in a neutral and non-confrontational way, what his thinking is about it. You are, after all, the intern and he is the landowner, and has, in theory at least, been out there for longer. I remember being in a similar situation a couple of times when I was around your age. In both cases, I was made to spray fungicide on tomatoes. I gained respect from both "offenders" by sticking around for a second season and seeking permission to grow some "my way" and demonstrating that chemicals really weren't necessary.
 
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