After arriving at Morris Grassfed Ranch, we set up our sleeping arrangements and gathered for orientation. After a brief snack time, we began our discussion about holistic resource management. I had some flashbacks to biology as we started to talk about the carbon cycle. It wasn’t what I expected to be talking about, but it was a lightbulb moment. I hadn’t really realized the implications of the typical modern large-scale farming or ranching on the environment, but it made sense to me as we discussed how if we manage the grasslands thoughtfully, the watershed, air and our food sources will be healthier. We were also able to go for a walk around the ranch and get out and explore the grasslands for ourselves. Each of us was able to gently dig into the soil and see and feel the earth for ourselves. For me it was a moment to physically connect to the earth and really clarified the need to protect the grasslands.
I’m really grateful for our conversations about where our food comes from and about the impact of our current farming and ranching systems because I hadn’t really thought about it before. I think it is really important to know how the system works because it’s what we put into our bodies. It was really inspiring to think that this is now an opportunity for me to teach others about what I had learned. Maybe this’ll be something for me to continue to research and advocate for in my senior service-learning project.
After dinner, we bundled up in warm clothing to go to the Teatro Campesino, which was started by the United Farm Workers Union, for a play called “La Sombra,” or The Shadow. Like the conversation that morning, it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was a one-person play done in a mix of Spanish and English. The mix of Spanish and English was especially poignant because even though I didn’t understand everything that was said, I was still, without language, able to understand what was happening.
Today was quite an odd mix of topics from holistic farming practices to the play. However, I think it was the perfect combination because we connected to the earth and the farming community.