“Community.” It's a word that conjures up goodwill and a peaceful, easy feeling. It's a song we all want to hum along with, in part because we love the sound of it, but truthfully, we hum because we don't always know the words. If we are being honest, and let's be, community can be a wee bit vague. It's a delightful collective word that can sometimes fail to actively include the individual. We all want to be a part of a vibrant and dynamic community, but how does that look in practical terms?
First, forget everything you know about farming in the Southwest. Pull up the black snaking lines of your irrigation system – the ones you know to be the very circulatory system of your garden. Next, shelve the gardening books, including those that tantalizingly promise you can grow more vegetables on less land, in less time, with less money. The knowledge you need is passed from grandfather to father to son, accumulated like one’s very DNA. Abandon fertilizers, whether they’re sourced from a bag, your neighbor’s cows, or the compost pile you tend with maternal love.