the agritect

@VELD architect, southwestern Ontario

Greenhorn’s Green Dreams

sustainable farm proposal

Woven Lea Farm – the ideal sustainable farm proposal – VELD architect 2008

4 years ago my brother made a deal with his environmental professor at Ridgetown Agriculture college.  In exchange for guest lecture in her class about my thesis work, he was allowed to skip class to come to my architecture thesis defense. He agreed on my behalf so each year in October I make the trek down to Ridgetown to give a lecture on my thesis work.

I wouldn’t say I am the most eloquent, or engaging of lecturers, but at least I try to be interesting and passionate. But kids these days… they stare at me blankly pretending to listen and love it when I finish early! But each year there are a few that make it worth while. They come up to me after tell me they thought that is was really cool and they make my trip worth while.

The most interesting observation about these kids who are very engaged in my lecture is they tend to be “wanna-be” farmers.  Kids who did not grow up on farms, but have a passion and desire to be involved in the agriculture industry. I think this is because the farm kids already have an idea about what a farm “looks” like and how it’s “supposed” to operate. They come to my lecture with preconceived notions about farming. I’ve been in their shoes, it took me a long time in my thesis work to “get over” my baggage about what farming had to be. The wanna-be farmers love my presentation because they have passion for farming because their idea of farming is a lot like my thesis project, sustainable, in harmony with nature, and energy-efficient. Is it wrong to expect the ideal, or aim for the sustainable?

“I might be an idealist along with this young student, but “being an idealist is not being a simpleton; without idealists there would be no optimism and without optimism there would be no courage to achieve advances that so-called realists would have you believe could never come to fruition.”

Perhaps the agriculture industry needs to step back from itself and assess their prejudices and biased idea about farming and approach their careers with the same passion and idealism this young future farmer came to my presentation with.

“Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist…someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.”

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