Thursday, February 23, 2012

Farm Infrastructure

For those readers who are confused about where I am and what I'm doing right now, here are the basics: I have a friend from college. His name is Alex. He moved to Patagonia in 2004 and bought land with a small group of other people. Since then he has established a farm on that land. In 2009 the farm became a CSA, feeding 10 families. This season it's feeding 20. I'm living and working on the farm with Alex and a rotating cast of volunteers and assorted friends. The farm is a community that keeps drawing people back. They share with each other and go back to the parts of the world they came from. Alex is sowing people as well as crops--people who value growing their own food, living self-sufficiently, and investing themselves in a community. It's a beautiful place.

In 2004 there were a couple of run-down cabins on the land. The smaller one housed Alex, his brother, and another friend while they renovated the other into a community kitchen building. Other buildings sprouted up: a humanure toilet, a shed, a chicken coop. Improvisational buildings made using natural building techniques like cob, straw clay, and adobe. After a few years Alex built himself a house. Then the kitchen burned down, so they built a new one in the ashes. A volunteer asked if he could live on the land for a while, and put up a yurt. He has since built a sauna as well, for which we all thank him. A "workshop" was built next to the outhouse, but we really just use it to store firewood and boxes for sending food out to the families. The kitchen got an addition a year or so ago: a root cellar. There's a roofed-in stall for the cow and her calf, and in the middle of the garden is an ongoing little project, the "little plaza of the elemental beings," a space of shade and rest in the middle of the garden's swirling activity. And finally, the building that Alex is most excited about is the seed library ("semilioteca"), in progress on the hillside next to his house. Like any good homestead, continual improvements are being made, things are continually being built.

The community kitchen:
The cabin Alex originally lived in. I sleep here now:

Alex's house:The seed library:

Humanure outhouse:
Shed (with Alex's motorcycle):
The "workshop" has a fresco of Pachamama done in natural plasters:
Cow pen (with new door I made after the growing calf smashed the old one to bits):
And, of course, many volunteers sleep in their own shelter:More soon!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a beautiful and creative assortment of community buildings.