When I moved to the mountains eight years ago, I was seeking a deeper connection with nature. I needed a peaceful home, a quiet space I could relax into, a massive space I could expand into. I was seeking a lifestyle that allowed for a rooted connection with the surrounding ecosystem. I longed to merge with The Wild. I wanted to know why the coyotes were calling, when the quail were nesting, which wild foods where to be enjoyed in abundance, and which ones would kill me.
I marinated the idea of moving to a rural town for many months, romanticizing the idea of becoming a pioneer woman that splits firewood and operates power tools while maintaining my feminine essence. At first the transition was quite uncomfortable- scorpions in the bathtub, frozen pipes in the winter, a lack of housing, jobs and like minded people…and yet I remained, getting clearer with my intention to create a self sustaining homestead that would become a sanctuary for native plants and animals, a gathering place for folks with kind hearts and a healing space for women to come together.
I found a five acre property, I planted gardens and orchards, cultivated native plants, acquired livestock, bought real boots and gave up on clean finger nails. It was everything I had dreamed of: quiet, starry nights, wild life, and fresh food raised by my hands. It was also more work physically than I could have imagined. I was a single mother, homeschooling my son, working a part time job and running a small scale homestead, doing my best to disguise the isolation I was experiencing.
I had already been a single mother for five years when we left the city. I had left most of my life behind- my friends, job, community- to create space for myself and bring focus to my role as mother and farm Goddess. Days, weeks, months, became rhythmic and aligned with the shifting seasons. I started making herbal medicines with wild plants and spending most of my time outside. I found a new freedom, a lightness birthed from simplicity. The solitude of this lifestyle allowed for a silence inside of my heart that allowed me to hear my dreams and focus on manifest them without distraction.
During a Summer Solstice ceremony last year, I was given the clarity that it was time to step out of my seclusion and bring the community to the homestead. I began inviting my friends and sisters to join me in sacred ceremony to honor the turning of the moon and our collective need for a network of support. Together we cultivated the land, planting food to sustain, flowers to delight, and herbs to heal. We grew a garden of Sisterhood. The community I had been calling in showed up at the perfect time, an eclectic group of Wise Women.
The majority of folks that show up at the Farm are coming to connect with the land and each other, who are as eager to tend the garden as they are to tend the hearts of others. We are remembering a life from well before our time, when women worked the soil together, fed each others children and made a family of much more than just their biological relatives. The tribe growing out of the labors at Elder Farm is a group of resilient, creative and persistent women and children dedicated to supporting local agriculture and wild lands. We have cultivated a community that is diverse and cooperative, that uses its collective strength to support and encourage each other as we grow and evolve.
The Farm has become more than just my dream for a homestead in the country, it has become a local community building center. Every day, more teachers emerge to share their wisdom. Each month, more students arrive hungry to join the movement. We are learning about permaculture, native plants, herbal medicine and women's wellness, and sharing our knowledge with one another along the way.