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Monday, June 28, 2010

Shoes, just for the day.


"All right. I've got to go get my shoes now. It is the day", said farmer Phil.

It was the Farmer's Market day. You see, most time of the year Phil does not wear shoes. "From May first till November I walk and work bare feet on the farm. Only when I have to run to town or go to the market I'd put them on.", he explained.

Phil enjoys feeling a certain connection to the land and simply got to dislike wearing shoes. It would be only out of a necessity he'd put them on. Otherwise, rain or shine, barn or a field, rocks or thistles, it is still "bare footed farmer Phil".

Diane was creative enough to find a way to recycle Phil's boots. She planted herbs and flowers into them and has been selling the boots at the market. It became an instant attraction.

"I catch the customers with my boot arrangements. Then I pass them on to Phil. He works them.", she said with a smile.

It was great to experience another Farmer's Market and learn more from it too. We could see with our own eyes what Diane and Phil meant when they were saying that people were reluctant to change and support their organic ways. Turnaround was not as great as in Medina. Here in Oakwood a lot of kids are very overweight, and still there were very few young families with children.

Mostly, there were older customers that have known the great masters of "Nothing But Nature" farm for a while, and were coming to socialize and maybe buy some. With all the certification and money that Phil and Diane are paying year after year, they do not really make a whole lot of money by selling the produce. The prices are very reasonable, the produce is as fresh as it gets, and still it took years for them to establish a more or less reliable clientele.

When ten years ago or so Diane suggested a culinary program at her small local church, nobody showed up, she sadly remembered. "I have tried and tried. But in vein. I would try to teach the people about herbs, and it seemed like they were afraid to touch or smell them. Forget about putting them into their mouths. It took me a long time to understand their lack of desire to come out of their comfort zone. I have forgiven them, but couldn't do much about changing their views."

Rates of cancer are very high in the county. As you drive on straight Ohio roads, all you see are fields and fields with three crops: wheat, corn and soy. A farm house next to a field growing those crops commercially would not even have a garden. Those farmers get government subsidies and are very happy to pour as much herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals as needed according to the protocol.

With Diane's invitation, we attended Melrose Methodist Church on Sunday morning. There were a few families that were praying for their loved ones and asking God to save them and help them fight cancer. I guess, they still have to come to realization, that God has sent them Phil and Diane long time ago.

But Phil and Diane would not give up. Their determination is an amazing inspiration for me.

When some of the freshly picked organic produce does not sell at the market, Phil generously drops it off at a lady's house who has been fighting one of the rarest types of cancer in the world. She juices the greens and seems to be doing great.

What would it take for people to change, I wonder?

2 comments:

mom6nester said...

So sad to hear about the people's reluctance to change, especially to such good produce as organic. May God bless Phil and Diane for their determination. I am sure they are an inspiration.
even if they get to help a few, it is still worth it. Much love,
Nathalie

Julia and Mirek said...

Thank you, Nathalie! I will pass on your blessings to Phil and Diane. They need as much support as possible, even though they do know they are doing the right thing, it helps to hear it every now and then.

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