The end of another day on the farm. I arrive home and empty my pockets: keys, knife, wallet, phone.
Cupped in my hand is a little collection of beans that had found their way into my pocket throughout the day.
A diverse little group. Individual beans that had gotten mixed in with others of a completely different sort. Threshing with the wood chipper makes easy work of beans. But things get stuck in nooks and crevices, get spit out with a completely different batch. You suddenly find a bright purple Scarlet Runner mixed in with the sea of Black Cocos lying on the tarp.
I picked up these gypsy beans as I found them. Put them in my pocket in the haste of the work we were doing. Keeping the current batch clean and wholly intending to return each gypsy to it’s own.
But being gypsies they continued to wander, disappearing into the very bottom my pocket. Not to be found until I got home.
Which is what seeds do.
Seeds are meant to travel. They’re meant to spread and put down roots in a completely different location from where they originally grew. Caught up in fur and hair and between toes. Eaten and later returned to the ground in a pile of poop. Blown free of their pod and carried away on the breeze. Seeds must spread to thrive. They can’t all drop from their parent plant and grow in the exact same spot. Nature got this figured out for plants a long time.
And at some point, we animals got involved. We became an effective mode of transportation for seeds. Often willingly and to our own benefit.
That’s really all the farm is: just another mode of animal-based transportation. We grow seeds in one location and share them with home gardeners to plant in another. Not exactly how we’d describe the business; not exactly what gardeners are thinking when they buy.
But animal participation was never about thoughtful consideration for the seeds’ need to travel. It just happened. It was all about the animal: like the fruit, eat the fruit, and poop out the seeds later.
Like the flower, grow the flower, and sell the seeds. Like the flower, buy the seeds, and plant them later.
Exactly what the seeds need. Sneaky.
Just like the beans in my pocket. They made it from the farm to my home. I’ll save them and plant them next season. Or if I decide not to put them in the ground, they’ll be tossed into the compost pile or out into the woods, both places where they could take root. Even if they go into the garbage, the beans will end up in a landfill. Eventually taking root?
To keep seeds from doing what they do, you’d have to want to stop them. You’d have to make a focused, purposeful effort to prevent seeds from spreading. Which would be just another exercise in human folly and hubris. But try if you want.
Nature’s got it all figured out. And Nature always wins.