What would be the point of living if not loving? To love is to care. The more you do for others, the more you care, the richer you become.
We are not in the business of food, we are in the business of farming. And, what is faming if not the link between human and nature?
That's exactly what we do. We are farmers; we provide the link between human and nature, connecting one with the other in perfect harmony. Nothing could ever grow in our soil without proper care and attention. Somebody needs to care.
Farmer is just another word for carer. There is no greater satisfaction than to reap the fruits of hard labour performed with love, supreme kindness and care, while respecting the natural order and letting the balance flow. Still, being a farmer goes way beyond working with land. To care for nature alone is not enough. We need to take care of the people and make sure they are in a state of wellness, otherwise who would be there to take care for the land.
We need everything to be in balance: Nature, people and their economics. How do we make sure that every single one of the elements is in balance with the other?
By making sure that every single thing we do is guided by our philosophy, the "San Yi" philosophy.
The San Yi philosophy.
All things must run its natural course. Life is all about balance. When balance is achieved all things return to its natural state of being: perfection. Just like the river flows freely to the sea when there is nothing in its way, farming becomes easy and sustainable when all of its elements are aligned.
Guided by the principles of the Tao Te Ching, at the Walden Farm we developed the San yi philosophy, to guide us into thought and action.
What does San Yi means?
The San Yi philosophy literally translates as the Three One philosophy, and it is not only the Chinese name of our farm, but also the system of thoughts in which we base everything that we do here, at our farm. But, what do the numbers stand for?
Yi - The nature, Er - The people, San - The business.
None of them can prosper without the other, just as a plant could never grow without soil, water and sun. Three elements turning into one, into a whole. Three to one, three to perfection. It doesn’t take much for the river to make it to the ocean, or for a flower to sprout during spring when they are in balance with the nature.
Farming is not really different, it is a business that requires nature and people in order to prosper. To act in the benefit of one, is to act in the benefit of the other, just as to damage one of them would imply damaging them all, and damaging one self.
So, how do we maintain this balance? By focusing on the three pillars of farming:
Yi: The nature
What could be more important than nature? Could something ever be possible without the brightness of the sun, or the softness of the soil? Nature was here way before any human business; it was here before us and it will remain after we’re gone, but without the proper care it loses its balance; so does everything around.
Nowadays, massive farming is eroding thousands and thousands of acres across the world. Forests and jungles are being lost in order to cultivate their fields and, in order to increase profit, lots of farmers are strangulating Mother Earth.
“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill”.
A flame that burns twice as bright, burns twice as fast. So, why not taking some time to care?
We care. Thats why we have implemented an echo farming system, aimed to reduce the impact that farming produces in the envoirment.
What is Echo Farming?
Echo farming means no waste allowed. Everything, from the smallest fruit, to the animal waste can and will be reutilized. Let’s set the product of farming as an example, it’s not always ideal for human consumption, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be utilized in some other way.
At the Walden Farm, we classify our crops in three ways:
First Class: Our best crops. Perfectly fit for human consumption.
Second Class: Good enough for animal consumption.
Third Class: Fit for our compost.
Wait, We are not done! We even reutilice the products of our compost as a natural source of nutrients for our soil, and a source of natural gas to fuel our personal kitchens. No waste. We mean it. But, just as the human kind did not invent the fire, it wasn't us that came up with the idea, nature was already doing it long before us, we just needed decided to listen.
We are aware that the farming industry has caused a lot of damage so far and that stoping it wouldn't be enough. According to the National Geographic, farming and livestock alone account for almost half of all the deforestation problem worldwide. Where did everything go wrong? When did we forget what farming is about?
We are trying to change that; this is a different kind of farm. Nothing could ever be without nature. We are aware; we care. That's why we have been working to restore the damage by promoting social programs such as our reforestation program, that grows side to side with our farm, in an effort to repopulate the land surrounding our forests with the help from local people, including gubernamental officers, students, Walden Farm and our foreign volunteers from all around the world. Each and everyone one of us has something to give. Supreme kindness nurtures it all.
Farming requires cultivating the three fundamental elements of the Tao: Simplicity, patience and compassion. Simplicity in our action and thought. Patience with our crops and with our soil. Compassion for people animals and soil. Nature is our Yi (One), but in order to maintain balance we then need to focus in Er (two), our people.
We are not just talking about the locals, our principles go way beyond. But, just as getting rid of pollution in one place helps cleaning up the entire world, by helping some people grow you help everyone in the long run; that's what supreme kindness is all about.
When it comes to caring, whether it's for people, for animals or crops, there is no better way than to begin from the foundations. In this case, there is no better way to start than education. At the Walden Farm we are working on different projects to take a step toward the education of our people.
Without the proper care, education has become dull and obsolete. Nowadays, people are treated just like robots, learning the same things over and over again. Every one is shaped, packed and delivered just the same. The only problem is that we are not robots, we are humans, incredible beings capable of creating wonderful things such as music, literature, sports and art.
We cannot, and will not allow our current educational system to drown our spirit. We want to educate people so that they are free to choose in which direction to go, not by telling them what to do, but by giving them the tools to choose by themselves. For those reasons and more, we are already building a school in the Walden Farm premises, soon to be inaugurated by the Walden familyand everyone who has ever believed in this dream.
A school is a big step, and one of our biggest dreams. It will will take some time and a lot of patience, but that doesn't mean that we can't start educating people. When there is a will there is a way, and we have found it through our yearly Walden Farm summer camps, where kids from all around china get to live an immersive international experience with our volunteers and local staff.
We should anyone be limited by language or geography? We cannot live inside a box. It takes humbleness to recognize that there is always something new to learn from other people. We need that exchange in order to grow. So, every year we try to get amazing people from all around the world to come and share their knowledge with the locals, and the best part is that it usually works both ways; there is no better way to learn than to teach.
San: The business
"Satisfied with an ordinary life you can show people the way back to it's true nature."
Contrary to what it may seem, a business is not necessarily a mean machine; not when it's in balance with the principles of kindness. A true business can only be called so if it aims to serve the common wealth. When ones need have been met, what else is there to do but to help other people meet theirs, but that takes compassion. We need to open our eyes and look around, the suffer of others is still our own.
The business is only the result hard work and respect. If you respect the nature and the people, the business takes care of it's own and it will take care of everyone involved. That's why we call it the San Yi Philosophy: three than end up becoming one at one point in the middle. That point is called perfection. Balance.
A farm is a business, but it is also the link between the elements needed to lead a happy life. Our business brings people closer to their roots. It puts them in contact with nature and reminds them of what really matters. What would this work be without the wonders of the countryside? How could we survive living in a concrete jungle?
We bring nature to the world, wether it is with our delicious food, our social programs, or a simple visit to our grounds. We are farmers. We are carers. That is just what we do. Welcome to our farm.
We care. We believe. We are Walden.