I left D Acres in the end of July after a six-week internship. If it were not for obligations at home and a semester of travel beckoning, I would still be there now. What I found there far exceeds what I could have imagined when I decided, amidst January gloom, to be a farmer for the summer.
D Acres helped me toward an understanding and a way of life that I did not even know I was missing. What D Acres offers, in addition to farm skills, a welcoming community of eclectic and energetic individuals, good food, and a beautiful place to let loose, is an approach to personal and collective reintegration. At D Acres, we spend our time doing work that contributes directly to our own collective livelihood. For just six short weeks, spending my time working in the very garden beds that I could count on to produce my own meals yielded a satisfaction and a feeling of wholeness and integrity that I have never before felt.
It was not until I experienced the fullness, wholeness, and connectedness of my life at D Acres that I also understood the relative disjointedness and incongruity of an unsustainable lifestyle—the kind lived by most people in the United States, urban, suburban, and rural alike. In this incongruous life, one’s work does not and cannot sustain one’s life because the “work” of the average person is not connected, in any way, to land cultivation or food production. While this kind of job never seemed desirable to me, it now seems inevitably unfulfilling because of the gaps it leaves between the way we spend our time and the way we sustain or lives.
D Acres helped me to recognize these gaps, these incongruities, which exist unrecognized and unquestioned between the foods in the fields, the “work,” in an office building or shop, and the consumption in the super market. To lead a sustainable lifestyle is not only to engage in practices which sustain the land and the natural resources that we depend on, but is also to engage in work that contributes to personal and collective sustenance—to fill the gaps toward a reintegrated wholeness.