Can you even believe the June we’re having?! Yes, there have been a few sweaty days and buggy nights, but nothing like what a typical June brings to this part of Virginia (which is normally just a bowl for humidity this time of year). Just this past Saturday we had another picture-perfect market. And, in addition to fresh veggies from the farm and homegrown goods from other local vendors, we saw the inception of a beautiful new tradition at Woodside Farms: the Chickahominy Falls Art Show.
And, as we all know, you can’t have heart without art. If you were here on Saturday you saw the walls of The Barn harmoniously adorned with beautiful art. Since this was the first-ever Art Show to grace these barn walls, we kept entries available to just Chickahominy Falls residents with the hope to open it to the greater community in the following years. I think we were all blown away by the immense artistic talent presented by the residents. You could see each work of art overflowing with talent and heart. What an inspiration to have on the farm! The intersection of farming and art is an interesting and ancient one. Agriculture has inspired artists since the dawn of the Fertile Cresent during the Mesolithic Era when nomadic peoples stopped roaming for food and started growing it themselves. These crops inspired textile designs, pottery alterations, as well as jewelry, and drawings.
It has been said that at its best, farming is an art and an industry at its worst. From the moment before the growing season even begins, farmers have a vision of what is to come. They carefully coordinate and design where seeds go, how many, and in what pattern while taking in data from previous years like weather, drainage, and soil health, as well as using intuition to listen to the changes that the land and the growing circumstances have made. It’s a beautiful assembly of art and science. It, in effect, is a form of living sculpture with its purpose ever-changing, as today’s form has an unlimited effect on tomorrow’s. When farming is restricted to pure industry, there is no value, joy, or depth to the inherent art of every decision. It’s boiled down to a number at the end of a spreadsheet, leaving the worker empty and devoid of the human right to feel the bliss that comes with creating something using your own two hands. Industry farming continues to lose the great anticipation of the future – plans, growing practices, and growing conditions. As an art, there is a sense of life and vibrancy when thinking of the future – how you can work to mold it, but not ever contain it fully. Farming as art gives back to the farmer, their family, and their community. As an industry, farming robs the farmer of those very things we hold dear. When we move back to the land, back to smaller farms filled with heart, we can more easily see the clear intersection of farming as an art form.