We Give Thanks for Juan Jo Qualia Farm
by Ivy Lynn
As we approach the holiday known as Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to acknowledge the gratefulness so many of us feel to have been eating vegetables grown by Juan Jo Qualia Farm in the Hut Hamlet this year. It is so important to the success of our ecovillage that we keep moving toward producing as much of our own food as possible. We know that the Gateway project and Imani Farm will someday provide much food for us, but for now Juan Jo holds the one highly visible role of vegetable grower.
Many things have gone into making this possible. Thanks go to all the people who sat in committee meetings and created policy to allow farmers the energetic, mental and physical space to grow! We also owe thanks to Greg Clark and Katrina Highland for pasturing a cow, two goats, and numerous chickens on the Hamlet field. Thanks to past lessons learned, there was wisdom enough to put a fence around the field that is tall enough to keep out the deer.
No small thanks now go to Julie MacMahon, Andy Bosley and Joe Dofflemyer for the hard work of learning how best to grow food: for making time in their lives to do it, for finding ways to subsidize their farming so that they could be on site when needed on the farm. Thanks also to all the biodynamic-based knowledge these farmers were able to draw on. And lastly thanks to all those who supported their farm by buying CSA subscriptions and making by-the-item purchases.
Juan Jo Qualia is certainly an unusual name. Here is the official explanation from the farmers themselves. “Juan Jo is the first two letters of our names (Julie, Andy, Joe). Qualia is a biodynamic term that means aspects of perception. Aside from sounding cool, it applies to the different ways to perceive the garden. One way to perceive it is the physical layout of rows, plants, irrigation system, compost pile, etc. Then there’s the realm of the devas (plant and animal spirits) to whom we give thanks and ask guidance from as we go about our work. Then there’s the science perception. With the scientific perspective everything is about nutrient uptake, mineral composition, beneficial insect species and x gallons of water at x pressure to irrigate for one hour. There are infinite levels of perception that we can come up with. The point we focus on is that they are all here, all present. We may spend more time focusing on one or the other, but we recognize the importance of all beings and all viewpoints.”