Those we meet on our journey.

The draft horses are powering along, their massive hooves clomping the ground with each step. The gear on them rattles with each powerful stride. Meanwhile, dozens of chickens are clucking away around the coop, pigs clamor about off in the background.

Just meeting Jenny and learning she runs a garden center about 20 minutes from town, where she’s raising heritage breed pigs and chickens opens my eyes. But let’s not forget about Matt and Gilian from Grey Rock Farm CSA, where they power their farm by draft horses, inspiring. This season I’m joining their CSA.

I didn’t know hide nor hair of these smart and innovative people previously. I’ve met them along my journey, my journey of becoming sustainable and self-sufficient. With them I have spoke, learned, and a gained insight into a different lifestyle.

Mid-July, regional farmers market. Humid. Typical upstate NY Saturday. There are about a dozen shoppers surrounding this table, which is a colorful pallette of red, purple, yellow, and green heirloom tomatoes. Lettuce, collards, zucchini, herbs and not-to-mention the two tall, long-bearded gentlemen, Chris and Josh, who are frantically weighing, bagging and talking a mile a minute with their loyal customers.

These guys represent Early Morning Farm CSA. And through them I have become so aware of the many different types of seasonal produce. From tasty summer varieties of greens and kohlrabi to storage crops like rutabagas and turnips. They have piqued my insight into what it truly means to eat seasonally.

I stepvout into a pasture behind an old red barn. Brown swiss cows are grazing peacefully. I sit. Chat. Pet. And just become in tune with nature and, really, where my milk comes from.

I’m at Grey Rock Farm, and Matt and Gillian are the owners of the farm. From them I have seen them love their animals and treat them with the dignity they deserve, because one day one of those animals are going to become part of me. Whether milk, beef, chicken or pork. They have demonstrated at Grey Rock there’s compassion for all creatures, even if they are to serve another purpose.

Clicking send the message goes out. Six garden centers contacted. One, only one had the organic potting soil I was looking for. And it was Crazy Daisies Flower Shop. I went over to pick up the soil, that’s where I met Jenny. She was in her element. Flannel-clad. Working in her greenhouses and showing me her plants that were looking really good for an early March afternoon.

We got talking and that’s when she brought up her heritage breed of pigs and chickens. And showed me. Wonderful, I said. If it weren’t for people like her these breeds would be extinct.

And if it wasn’t for the inspiring people we meet on our journeys where would any of us be. These people I have just spoke of, they are the change in the world. Helping others realize that life really is good, life can be simple, and we can love our world.

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