So tonight upon entering the farm – there it was – an old tractor spraying the entire field right behind our property with Round Up.  I can’t lie – it was hard to take and see – and we both went from through every range of emotion in about 30 seconds.

Our hives will have to be relocated
Our hives will have to be relocated

I think what saddened me most tonight was the laughing of the farmer at us as we stood taking a picture of the spraying. It is sad that it can’t be understood that this is not “funny” to us – it has been our dream and our life.

When we posted last night what was happening – we did so to continue to tell the story of our little farm – as we have done since we began. It is important for us to tell everyone not just about all of our successes, but also when things don’t go our way – and that the real key in life and gardening and in everything – is to just simply never give up – no matter what.

The Farm - mid summer 2014
The Farm – mid summer 2014

In less than 12 hours after our story – we had over 40,000 views and close to 500 comments, and probably another 100 or so emails to our farm. The emails came from all over the world – and if there can be one silver lining in all of this – it was what those emails said and what we can take from them. That people DO believe in what we are trying to do. That it is important to be more responsible for your life and your food – and to grow it in a safe way that does not ever have the need for chemicals. We had people wanting us to start funding campaigns and offers from all over to buy the land – and every other type of support we could have dreamed of – and it was amazing to see the caring and concern about responsible and sustainable gardening.  Sadly – with the volume – there is just no way for us to answer them all – but we do appreciate and read every one.

We have put too much work in not to weather a few stormy clouds
We have put too much work in not to weather a few stormy clouds

But here is the truth of the matter.  Our entire blog and website, and our dream – was to show that this can be done anywhere, on a small amount of land.  Yes, buying more property might give us a buffer – but it also goes directly against our philosophy of living more simple.  It also hurts us both more to know that not everyone out there has the ability to write about an issue and have the kind of followers and help that we have been blessed with – and it is THOSE people that we want to help the most -and why we do what we do.

As sad as it is – under the law in our state here – we simply had no right or ability whatsoever to stop them from planting.  We talked with several attorneys, every state agency that we could think of, and the answer from all was a resounding “it’s not fair, but it is the law.”  We get that everyone has rights to their land – we just wish and hope that somewhere there could have been something that would have protected us and our bees, chickens and gardens from having to be exposed to herbicides and insecticides. In fact – it was difficult today explaining to everyone we talked to that we were not a business and did not do this to make money – but to help others free through our website.

We feed our entire family from that land – and have done so for going on 5 years now. I am sure if we were to have to pay for the 3500 + pounds of vegetables we grow annually, and the eggs and honey we consume each year from our little “garden” as the farmer laughingly said to us – that the value would be considerably more than inflated $4000.00 he puts on his harvest of 8 acres of beans.  Yes – we can still grow – but the worry and the concern of what is now on our crops, or when they spray insecticides this summer what will happen to our bees will now always be present in our minds – and that to us is an infringement on our peace of mind for the land we have purchased and paid for.

With that said – we are workers and we are positive people and we will continue to be both. We will keep on writing about the best ways to garden, and keep on writing our recipes and the story of our farm.  I am excited that our book will be published this coming December, and that it is the real story of everything that went into building our little farm – the good, the heartbreaking, and the will to always survive.

We will not quit.  We will keep fighting and growing and working hard at our dreams. Thankfully we pulled several samples from the soil yesterday – and will continue to do so all summer to at least have evidence if anything does contaminate our land.

Thank you to all who supported us over the last five years – and especially in what truly was a tough last 24 hours.  Many tell us that we inspire them – but it is you who have truly inspired us and will always continue to do so.  There is one rule that no matter what everyone must remember – you only fail when you give up.

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

Jim and Mary Competti

 

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