food, farming, friends and family: a meditation on chosen simplicity and (in)voluntary complications – life.

Weekend Adventure: Concrete

A couple of weekends ago, Neil and I went on an excursion to the town of Concrete, a small semi-industrial town about an hour south-east of Bellingham along the North Cascades Highway.  Concrete, formerly “Cement City,” finds itself along the Skagit River, and tucked between Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.  In short, it’s beautiful.  

The reason for our trip was an incredible farming opportunity offered by a landowner in the area.   Really incredible: 

Seemingly too good to be true, except for the fact that it wasn’t.  The only pesky problem is that the town of Concrete has just a handful more than 800 people in it.  And though my past hometowns have included such places as Goshen, Ohio and Royal City, Washington, I’m not sure I’m ready to be in such relative isolation again.  
So it’s that persistent quandary: the perks, conveniences and social outlets of more urban living vs. the space and freedom that rural living affords to create a simpler (and, to me, a more intuitive) lifestyle.  So, what’s it going to be – a farm or friends?  Unfortunately, land prices closer to population centers in this area make it feel like it does have to be an “either/or” situation.   I know it’s not that cut and dry, and it certainly has me ready to dust off the idea of a collective farm and look at it more closely and seriously.  I also want to be a part of reinvigorating the idea of the farm as a central member of the community – a gathering place, a place to work teach learn experiment provide eat grow harvest celebrate.  And I am continually inspired by the many examples I see of this happening across the country.  
I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but in case I’m not:  Please please support the local farmers in your area;  they are some of the most hard-working, intelligent and committed people you’ll have the chance to meet. Their work and their products are so often undervalued and taken for granted, but they provide much more than food for their communities.   Can’t wait to join their ranks.  

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