I’ve wanted to start a podcast for a while. I love talking to people and hearing their stories, and often learn so much about life and myself in the process. The PDC course brought me a lot of firsts: first field school, first time sharing my own music and hooping for an audience, and first time interviewing someone with the intent of making a podcast.
I initially approached Tamara McPhail about doing an interview, which never materialized. I was very interested in the story of how a team of women battled with the courts for years to win the deed to Linnaea Farm. This woman is so inspiring, confident, and wise. I wanted to get to know her but also felt hugely intimidated, and I also got the feeling I was asking questions that were not really my place to ask. During our brief chat we talked about some things that I was very curious about, namely the parts of farm life that we were not immediately privy to. The hard times, the personal conflicts, the realities of living in what, in a purely economic view, is poverty. Me, ever the journalist, wanted the ‘real deal’, the ‘true story’ of farm life. I knew the breezy picture we got in the beginning of our stay could not be the whole picture.
Tamara succinctly called it ‘Farm Porn’. Seductive images and storylines of farm life that we valorize, but when the lights turn back on the gritty reality is unmasked. Farm life is physically and mentally extremely hard work with little to show in economic payoff. Although living deeply in connection with the land has a magnificent intangible value, it is the little things that start to chip away at that veneer, such as affording to retire, go to the dentist, and send children to university. Perhaps with more student groups and a revamped educational centre we can build more successional stages into the ongoing growth of Linnaea Farm.
With no sign of Tamara I approached Adam after his final lecture and asked if he would like to chat. Luckily Adam agreed to spend some time with me and shared his story. I am so happy I got a chance to get to know this incredibly wise, intelligent, and funny person. I hope you enjoy this candid interview!
Some quotes from Adam:
“Somewhere between science and our own will there are solutions.”
“We have to be strong and vulnerable all at the same bloody time. Keep that spirit up, like I CAN DO IT!”
“Living is performance is art is beautiful”
Adam brought up a point that brought into question the agricultural programs now offered by universities- before this was common a small farm like Linnaea didn’t have to compete with flashy new educational programs. Now the market for ‘farm knowledge’ is being taken over by well-funded educational programs that have been developed in a classroom rather than by the farmers themselves. Coming to Linnaea from exactly a university run program definitely took on a different hue after that piece of insight was offered- why do the little guys always lose??
If I had a say in the matter I would wholeheartedly support these world-wise and hardworking people to spread their deep knowledge and support their endeavours. I hope this podcast can shed a little light and bring a little wealth to Linnaea Farms and her Stewards. In particular Adam highlighted the history and traditions of Linnaea as something newer educational farm sites do not have. A rich culture of land stewardship, community, and conflict is often something I feel disconnected from as a ‘terrible white person’, but while at Linnaea I learned that traditional knowledge is something everyone has access too. It is borne not solely from ancestry, but can also come from developing an ongoing relationship with the land.
Check out Adams zany, intelligent, and informative farming videos on his FARMOUT broadcast.