Rasmus Jorgensen | March 25, 2017
Spring is here, and the magazine’s forthcoming spring issue is a gardener’s basket of stories about alumni and students who are turning to life on the land, reinventing agriculture one project at a time — and rediscovering themselves in the bargain. Magazine intern Rasmus Jorgensen’s essay is a little taste of what’s to come. Enjoy.
The small farm I lived on as a child really had everything: Enough land to grow crops and keep a few animals, fairly big stables, a meadow with a terrific little creek for swimming, rowing or fishing and, behind that, a large forest where we could get timber, take a walk or go hunting. Often we could see deer from the kitchen window. Behind the house was a huge, wonderful garden with flowers, rocks and apple trees.
The beauty was enough in itself to make me want to live in such a place again. But what really entices me these days is a desire to work with the land and animals to get my vegetables, meat and dairy.
The trouble is, I don’t live on a farm. Last year I lived in a second-floor apartment in Aarhus, Denmark, that, at the beginning of the year, only had three plants: A habanero, a small orange tree that did not produce anything worth eating, and my roommate’s palm tree, Ludwig. But that would change.
For people who knew me as a teenager, my yearning to get my hands dirty, to work outside, might seem strange. Back then I would be inside either reading or playing music and video games. But now, somehow, homesteading is all I can think of.
I’m not alone, feeling this way. In my case the inspiration has come from a man who, about 10 years ago, bought a farm even smaller than the one I once lived on, and has strived since then toward self-sufficiency in the most interesting ways. He does all the simple things such as growing tomatoes, but he also does things most of us don’t do, such as building his own greenhouses. He grows grains for the bread, animal feed and beer he makes, and he has laid out his vegetable garden so he has enough veggies, in abundant variety, to eat throughout the year. At one point or another, he’s had ducks, cows, chickens, sheep, bees, pigs, geese and horses, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the animals he has raised. All of this work, even the things he knew nothing about when he got started, he now does with expertise. He even makes and fixes his own tools, harvests his own timber and has used the wood to build a house — as if there wasn’t enough else to do.