Thursday, October 1

Two weeks ago, Mark Herskind delivered two massive truck loads of hemlock that will be used to re-side the farmhouse on West Avenue, in the same board-and-batten style of the farmhouse on West Delavan. In imagining the farm being bookended aesthetically, I was reminded of a quote by Walter Brueggemann, who in 1977 wrote:

“Whereas pursuit of space may be a flight from history, a yearning for a place is a decision to enter history with an identifiable people in an identifiable pilgrimage.” 

Identifiable people? Identifiable pilgrimage? This got me thinking, how might 5 Loaves Farm actually be identified?

There are some easy answers to this question, such as the actual lots we farm or the farmhouses themselves, but since I first became involved with the farm a few years ago, I’ve learned that there is far more nuance to this answer.

For example, this year our neighbors Abdi and Ifrah, allowed us to run a massive chain of hoses through their backyard so that we can water the greens on West Avenue. Our neighbor Israel has allowed us to do the same thing for years on the Dewitt Street lots, while simultaneously being on woodchuck lookout. He also has extended our raspberry patch by transplanting them in front of his house on West Delavan.

And we shouldn’t forget about the slanted trees we planted over on Perkins Avenue, the zinnias growing in front of Patrick’s house near Grant Street, or the horseradish and milkweed that are still growing behind the church on Potomac Avenue, where the farm first started nearly a decade ago. It all comes together, big and small, a network, an ecosystem, a neighborhood, to identify 5 Loaves Farm.

I think Newell from Buffalo Rising began to notice this while he was walking around our neighborhood back in July.

I came across a great symbol for this type of symbiotic relationship two weeks ago. While I was out harvesting some of the last of our market basil, I noticed this katydid:

What an incredible example of something resembling somewhere.

May this inspire us to continue to shape and be shaped by this neighborhood that we love.

-Mark Harley

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