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But, What If They Don't? Trusting a Community Who Doesn't Trust Itself.

There was no "day we started farming." We didn't wake up one Wednesday and decide, "So this is it! Now we're farmers." No, there are some days when I still question it. We don't own hundreds of heads of cattle, or wake up at the crack of dawn most days. But, we do feed people, and we do it well. Not only do we feed them, but we also offer classes on how they can affordably do this themselves.

On the very foundation of our farming style is that we never want to treat the food we produce as anything more than food. It isn't a higher-than-thou product, reserved for those who are willing to fork over a premium. Nutritious food access should not be a privilege, and knowledge should not be held for ransom.

Whenever I explain our beliefs and payment system that is largely based on paying what you can instead of a set price, I inevitably get questioned "But what if they don't?" For starters we have never had anyone not provide a payment, whether it be the King's coin or other barter. But, even if we did, so what? The world won't end because someone needed free eggs, and almost always any payments that are below market value for anything are made up for with the next person being extra generous to our system. We trust the process.

Hand in hand with that system, comes the idea that knowledge should operate under the same give and take balancing act. Online farming courses and in person foraging tours are a dime a dozen, and yet the pricing just climbs higher and higher. On one hand, this is a sign that a nice shift is happening, where people are putting money towards the type of world they want to experience. However, by doing so, they're also fueling the one they're trying to escape. Over pricing, and by extension, over paying, for knowledge that was once freely given is creating a culture where that knowledge is becoming inaccessible to the people who would benefit most from it. There is a fine line between being fairly compensated for your time, and holding your knowledge for ransom while creating an elitist environment. I try to give the latter a hard pass, and offer guided foraging hikes and walks for $20 per person with no time limits. If that is unaffordable to anyone seeking the knowledge, they're welcome to barter or just come along anyways. If you're not local to us, there is a great resource to find foragers in your area at (we're listed under the Virginia section.)

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