In 1976, Aprovecho was started in Guatemala after a terrible earthquake. The founders invented a stove called the Lorena as part of trying to help folks with their farms and forests. In 1981, Aprovecho came back to Oregon and bought 40 acres to learn how to maintain a forest, grow food, and make stoves. The hardware and software were OK but the wetware was not.
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung broke up in 1913. Freud had picked Jung as his successor, but Jung made an unforgivable joke at dinner that ended their relationship. Freud was sure that the most powerful human motivation was infantile sexuality. Jung commented that eating must be at least equally important?
That was it!
Sure, stoves are interesting, but food is certainly more important. I lived on a ranch in Mexico for eight years and when the food ran out we weren’t lighting fires to cook. We were out farming, hunting, fishing, or gathering edibles from the desert.
Growing food has always been important at Aprovecho. So has maintaining the health and productivity of our forest/woodlot. Oregon is cold and too rainy in the winter, and warm and too dry in the summer, so we’ve had to learn how to adapt to this place and how to grow food productively.
We are lucky that our garden at Blue Mountain is bottom land and is easily accessible. We buy inexpensive compost made from food scraps by friends in Eugene and our neighbor, Butch, bought a rototiller for his tractor a couple of years ago that he uses, free of charge, to till our ½ acre garden. Butch also gives us unlimited manure from his cows, so friendship has made growing food a lot easier.
Being friends with the folks on our road increases our feeling of safety, and friendly neighbors can agree to growing a wide variety of foods from garden to garden. Being friends is important on lots of levels and when food is involved, breaking up, especially because of an ephemeral idea, is something to be carefully considered.
Maybe better to share a slice of that good pumpkin pie?