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The Unexpected Learning

Two little friends on holiday at Gardenfarm. Photo by Cecilia Macaulay

The only thing thats important is that we find happy ways to be together. Not just co-exist, but to take joy in each other, and enjoy being needed, wanted, and cared for.

Togetherness Designer is my job. Finding the hidden obstacles or stories that keep us apart, and finding ways to make them disappear. When the culture is right, togetherness seems to happen by itself.

Here is Julie's final story, of her last day in Gardenfarm.

The unexpected learning

by Julie Magnus

Yesterday I left Gardenfarm. These 2 weeks have been rich.

I helped in the garden.

I dug out potatoes. I prepared the soil in order to plant new seeds. I planted new seeds. I watched the baby leaves starting to grow.

I picked oranges and pressed fresh juice.

I picked loads of blackberries and saved tens of kilos for the winter. I ate loads of them too.

Everyday, I ate delicious meals. I enjoyed the smell and taste of that good organic food which came directly from the garden to our plates. Everyday, at least 80% of what I ate came from the farm. I could pick it, then eat it. Impossible to have fresher food. 

It’s the first time since decades that I have been able to say that I know what I am eating AND where the food comes from. Gardening requires work, true. But we are the food we eat, so I think it matters to do that work, for us, for our health, for our kids, for the environment.

I helped Cecilia work on the redesign of her website. I had fun using my professional skills in a whole new way. I learned how to declutter houses, the Cecilia style.

I learned that Permaculture wasn’t just about growing our food. It’s principles go way beyond that and apply to life in communities.

I enjoyed living with happy animals of the farm. Digger the dog, always ready to find a stick and play. Gilmore and Sooty the cats, coming at dawn and dusk for their meals. Lakshmi the cow, Cowby the bull, Zoro their teenager and 'too young to have a name yet' baby cow, the family cow in the back garden. The chickens, from which we should learn to never give up and go where we want to go anyway. The geese, aways in a crew. The sheeps, the ducks, the bees...

But yesterday, as Bob was driving us to the bus station I look at the country side I am thinking of something else.

During these 2 weeks, one unexpected, but huge, realisation came to me.

As a WWOOFer, I have been living in this small community: Bob, Cecilia, the animals, the farm. I knew nothing about them, but somehow I was ready to commit. I was ready to go there, to work, to get to know them, to share some time together, to respect the time we needed on our own. I realised that I wasn’t afraid at all to make this commitment. I even enjoyed it because I had the feeling of doing something good at Gardenfarm.

I also realised that paradoxically I had this inability to commit to my own family these last 15 years and that it was time to change. It is time to take my responsibilities, If I could commit to a community as a WWOOFer, I should now commit to my family, as a sister, an aunt. And this is what I will do in May.

I can’t say exactly how it happened that I had this realisation. Maybe it’s because of the WWOOFing spirit, of the perma-culture principles, Bob and Cecilia, life at Gardenfarm, a combination of all of this added to personal life events. But this learning, has just infinite value. 

I’ll always be grateful for that.

Thank you !

Bob's Granddaughter Penny with Gilmore the Cat, Gardenfarm

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