a visit from the south

on monday this guy jesus came to visit, along with a friend, translator, and some folks from the sierra club.  the first thing i noticed was how difficult it was to talk though a translator, or at least how much slower it went to talk though a translator.  the next thing  i noticed how much when using a translator you need to be very careful about the words you us, so that it’s as exact as it can be.  even doing this still makes for some very slow conversations.  

we couldn’t really get into the details of the work that he does on account of how slow talking was, but i still felt really inspired.  i think consistently i feel most inspired by folks that are members of communities who see simple solutions to their problems and implement them, instead of carpetbaggers like myself coming in and trying to help people.  the work he does is mostly with indigenous peoples that are working on subsistence farms.  the idea is to try to keep people on the land, rather than being pushed off the land forced into the cities where their are no jobs for them, and no opportunities for individuals to have control over their own lives.

i saw some parallels to the work he is doing echoed in detroit.  the city as it is today is largely a result of individuals from farming communities who moved to the north in search of better lives.  but when they got here they realized there was nothing for them.  what’s more they were forced into substandard living conditions and given no options but to eke out a living in whatever way possible.  off the land they no longer even had the opportunity to take care of their most basic needs via farming.  

the interesting thing to me was that jesus main presentation that evening was at a union hall and his work was being framed as a way to keep immigrants from south of the border on there farms so they wouldn’t take away american jobs.  this might just be my critical interpretation.  but i could notice that his friend had been slapped with a red, white, and blue sticker that said “keep american jobs american”.  i like to think that she was wearing it in irony just to point out that she is from the continent of america so she by that logic is an american, and that any job on the continent is kept american as long as we don’t ship it off to europe or africa etc.  

regardless of why he was here, i enjoyed the visit, and it just went to prove that farmers no matter how big of a project they are doing, they still love talking about farming.  we discussed our greenhouse methods, and sampled various greens in the high tunnel, but the thing that got jesus really excited was the soil blocker.  i’ve been using my blocker for a number of years, so maybe that’s why i’d forgotten the wonder that is the soil blocker.  once i showed him the soil blocks, and how to use it, he just sat there staring at it and pulling the trigger on it over and over.  i figured they might not be all that easy to find in mexico, and he really seemed to like it, so i offered him one of them, since i had an extra.  he graciously accepted, and i was happy thinking that it might reduce costs to the  farmers he works with, and increase their yields.  it was a happy visit.

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