MICHAEL'S STORY: Disconnected and Over-Dependent No More
A Bible passage that has guided my life for the last 13 years is chapter 4 of 1st Thessalonians. It's instruction on how to thrive in life. Summing up the first few verses: Live to please God, keep from immorality, keep growing in love for people. The next few verses were my foundation for starting The Simple Farm:
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
Here’s my story:
It was 2008. I was 56 years old and had never grown food nor worked with animals. After watching a 10-minute video clip, that all changed. The video clip was about a family who grew their own food on 1/5 of an acre in the city of Pasadena. Their story, though inspiring, left me with a terrible feeling of disconnectedness. With no experience growing food I felt a disconnect from my Creator, from nature, and from all those throughout history who grew their own food. I also realized at that moment how dependent I was on others to grow my food; I couldn’t grow food if my life depended on it! I resolved right then and there: “That’s it. I’m going to do something about it.”
The next day I watched a YouTube video on how to make a raised garden bed, ordered a few tons of dirt which was dumped on our driveway, and from that point on, my wife and I started a journey we’re still on today. We turned our back yard into a thriving garden filled with fruit trees, edible plants, herbs and even a few chickens. Soon after, the opportunity arose to farm 2 ½ acres of undeveloped land on (our church property) smack in middle of our city. Being the pastor, we moved onto the property, sold our home (with the beautiful new gardens) and dumped the assets into creating a small farm known as The Simple Farm.
For the last 13 plus years, with the help of some friends, I’ve planted almost 200 trees and bushes, built about that many garden boxes, installed irrigation, delivered baby goats, raised chickens, built arbors, tables (for our farm dinners) and, with my wife, built a small community of like-minded people. For a short season we had a farmer’s market, but now, as a non-profit ministry, our focus is on farm-to-table dinners, workshops and youth internships that give people a taste of farm life in the middle of their city, helping people reconnect with God, people and nature.
Through lots of hard work and some hardships, the feeling of being disconnected has disappeared; I’m now much more deeply connected - with God, people and nature. And my sense of over-dependency on others for food has been replaced with a sense of independence (carrying my own load), inter-dependence (sharing the load together with awesome volunteers), and my dependence on God has increased (I’m a farmer - how could it not?).
Over the years, my wife and I have learned just how much city folk long for that taste of the country and we’ve seen how The Simple Farm has provided that taste for many people. Because I had a late start with no experience, I hope to inspire other disconnected and over-dependent people to start growing something - maybe a vegetable or two - and discover their “inner-farmer.” It’s never too late to start.
LYLAH’S STORY (coming soon) A time to plant gardens of beauty – with color and dimension.
THE SIMPLE FARM • BRINGING COMMUNITY TOGETHER • Come to the table - our next farm dinner - scheduled for this fall.
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