Gateway: Solutions in the Face of Insufficiency
by Ivy Lynn
The bright, creative thinking and dedicated, diligent work of Chris Farmer and Brian Love are the stuff of future Earthaven legends. Folks are always wanting to know what amazing things they’ve been up to. Considering their plan for Gateway Field, we will probably not be disappointed, as it promises to maximize their potential.
In these times, we need people with legendary resolve, tireless energy, multi-dimensional intelligence and a strong work ethic. While growing with remarkable success, Earthaven is still facing huge insufficiencies, not the least of which is a lack of inherited skills.
The homesteader skills of our great grandparents have been lost. Now, the skill a ten-year-old would have taken for granted a century ago, we must gain through trial and error. Of course, many people at Earthaven have resolve, energy, intelligence and a good work ethic (not necessarily in legendary quantity). Nonetheless, we have been slow in tackling the far-reaching problem of dependable alternative energy. Most of us have been entirely occupied with other important work, including the building of our own living spaces, that we often have just had to go on the hope that eventually someone with the right skills and knowledge would take it on.
Thank goodness, Brian and Farmer are doing just that! In their own words, they have already begun the intensive project of creating an integrated system where logging, milling, and building residues provide power for biofuel production… [with their] wastes…used as high-protein feed supplements for pasture-raised livestock [that]…fertilize the field…for vegetable cultivation.”
It will be a while before the whole program is in place and producing. In the eight plus years that Farmer has been at Earthaven, he has been doing what neede to be done while planning and preparing for this project. This time was not wasted.
Though Brian arrived on the scene just four years ago, he truly hit the ground running. His brilliance, exuberance, and physical endurance were just the support Farmer needed to renew his resolve. Helping him to make use of the things he had learned in his years at Eathaven.
In our last two issues, we wrote about our new “Sweat Equity” policy and also about “Sustainable Systems” (which focused primarily on Farmer and Brian’s work truck/power source). These articles described how these men established the foundation that would allow them to carry out their plans within the limiting context of a self-supporting, off-the-grid community such as ours. In the relatively short time since they signed their lease for the Gateway field, they have cleared the acreage, processed and stored the wood, acquired their water tanks, built an impressive barn, plowed under their first two cover crops, planted a third cover crop, and constructed a significantly-sized pond. Therefore, in spite of insufficiencies (or because they are so aware of them), Farmer and Brian are helping us to face a more promising future.