Farm News

Radicle Role Models

a photo of seeds sprouting in the dirt

A seed is born with a small stem, a single tiny root, and a scrap of pale white foliage. This complete physical structure is tucked and folded within and upon itself. At germination, the seed’s cells are not dividing, but absorbing. Specialized cells imbibe water, triggering enzymes to awaken. Food stored in the thin, outer membrane is consumed. The plant takes its first breath. Pushing toward the universe, this tiny, tender root, this radicle, emerges; the tightly held boundaries of identity are no more.

The primal work of a seed is not creation but expansion.


It seems the work of farming and farms themselves offer up a world-class education aimed at breaking boundaries by expanding one’s sense of identity. Each season spent in this classroom, I carry home a bounty: inexpressible, unquantifiable, but undeniably real. I do not consciously sign up for school in early spring, and yet every winter dawns and I look at myself in the mirror with more kindness, more compassion, more happiness than the year before. One moment I know nothing of the breathtakingly complex agrarian family, but the next, I carry the knowledge inside me like a seed, ready to breathe of its own accord. I cannot explain all its many scientific terms, but I continue to touch regenerative forces, I witness collaborations, I can now leaf out the map of cycles. I know who is a cousin. I know we are all cousins. I know I belong.


My farm is my mentor. A creek, a haymow, a mouse nest, a meadow of alder. The consoling belly of a broad-minded sow. A sea of inky purple onions. A black sky, a hard rain, a field of rattling wheat. Singing frogs, singing soil, mothers and fathers and children. For every curiosity or confusion, for every impasse or revelation, there is somewhere, someone in the Household of Nature* I can push toward.

As our time together comes to a pause, I offer you my gratitude. Thank you for pushing not away, but toward connection. Because of your continued support, I have been given the gift and the privilege to have entered a second decade as a farmer. The longer I farm, the less I obsess over outcome and the more I allow myself to celebrate the mystifying process. My confidence and trust in the work itself is blossoming. I can promise you this: I remain full-hearted, an engaged agrarian and writer, a steward of land and of words.

My wish is that each of you, in your own way, have the opportunity to absorb what all radicle role models have to teach: we are born whole. Our first work is not to do, but to be. The primal experience is one of expansion. We are meant to swell with the power of our innate gifts. Let my farm be your mentor too. Every germinating seed emanates this truth: Be nothing but your divine self first. Reach toward the world, and trust that whatever creativity resides within you will grow. ~AJ

*Rudolf Steiner used the term ‘Household of Nature’ in his 1924 lectures on the Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture.

May you always
fall asleep with a dream
and wake up with a purpose.