I learned about farmer Carrie Little back when Obama first took office. There was a thought that the new White House residents might turn a section of the lawn into an organic food garden and so the project needed a farmer to lead it. There was a call and farmers from all over the States were nominated for the role. Carrie Little was my farmer of choice.
I advocated for the project enthusiastically. I chose Carrie Little as my candidate because I felt she was especially qualified to turn that particular piece of ground into a fertile and nurturing place of good. I believed this based on an earlier project Carrie spearheaded. While at Mother Earth Farm, Carrie developed a model program for the Washington State Department of Corrections where Purdy inmates were trained to organically plant, weed and harvest crops at the farm on a regular basis. This program was so successful that another program emerged wherein successful crew members were granted a Certificate in Organic Farming from the University of Santa Cruz Organic Farming program.
I felt so excited to learn that inmates (Purdy inmates are all women, by the way) had an opportunity to get their hands in the dirt and both metaphorically and physically raise up new life! They were able to coax new beginnings and every sort of health out of dirt. I was incredibly moved by this marriage of practicality and spirit infusing work. And there was more:
“It was also Carrie who was responsible for developing a flower garden at Mother Earth Farm that was tended by a Girl Scout Troop in which every girl had her mother incarcerated at Purdy. While the mothers and daughters were not allowed to be at the farm at the same time, each could watch in the development of the labors of the other.” (Taken from here.)
I hardly know how to talk about this without sliding into weepy drivel. I’ll just say that Carrie’s long career is made up of similar stories of feeding people in every way there is to be nurtured. Suffice to say that I am incredibly honored and thrilled to get to work along side her as an Artist in Residence at her new farm, Little Eorthe Farm, in Orting, Washington, this next year.
Little Eorthe Farm
During my residency I aim to establish a pattern of tending where I work, record, experience and begin to know intimately soil, sowing, rest, quiet, emergence, green, water, time and reaping. And because I will be working with Carrie, I suspect I am to learn a great deal about love as well.
Ultimately, a work will emerge. I am not altogether sure what it will look like, of course, but I will take what I have gleaned and harvest what grows in me during my time at the farm, specifically my time with Carrie Little.