At 9,000 Feet

At 9,000 Feet

The Perennial Plate - Sn 1/Ep 9The Perennial Plate - Sn 1/Ep 9

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Situated at a high altitude of 9,000 feet, Tomten Farm is a Coloradan permaculture teaching farm with an intern program in operation for more than 20 years. This short film shares the joy of learning how to grow.

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Transcript

- The Tomten is a Scandinavian legend of a mischievous gnome that guards farms and farm animals. It came from a kids' book that I found when my kids were little, and I was like, "This fits," and it definitely fits. Sometimes we have sightings, little gnomes, and certainly, yeah, if something goes missing, we tend to blame it on the Tomten because they do have that mischievous sort of aspect to them. ♫ When the waters dry ♫ And the feelings fade ♫ I'll be by your side ♫ When your mind's been made I started off with a garden the first year we moved up here, just to see what I could grow. I was doing it small-scale for us, and then realized that this land really isn't about, to me, making a bunch of money. It's really about showing people, and educating people, and offering, particularly young folks, an opportunity to come check out some of their dreams. ♫ When the waters dry ♫ And the feelings fade ♫ I'll be by your side ♫ When your mind's been made So this is the 21st year with farm interns. We call it the Tomten Tribe now. We've had well over 100 come through Tomten Farm, so we have 100 Tomtens out there. - [Offscreen Voice] There's still some food left for you, don't worry. - [Offscreen Voice] That's cool. - Oh my gosh, there's been food this whole time? I need to leave, and I'm not leaving. - [Offscreen Voice] Thanks for making breakfast, Shawn! - Oh, it's hot. - [Offscreen Voice] Oh, you're welcome. - [Kris] It's organic farming. It's permaculture. It's regenerative agriculture. It's holistic management. It's, I mean, basically everything that I've picked up over the year, I try to pass on. I just take the tops off, because then we might get one more week out of here. So basically, see how this is, there's a new little leaf? Our idea is, let's give people the opportunity to try something. We learn the most from failing, but if you aren't encouraged to try, then you won't. Our audience. - [Girl] This is what humans do to eat their food? - [Kris] That's so weird. So these are the cotyledons, the big fat, fleshy ones. So that's what comes in the seed itself. They're already formed, and then these are the first true leaves, and in most plants, the codyledons are a different shape, so you want to get these before the true leaves get very big, because they're kind of hairy, scratchy. I've helped out on farms, but I've never fully worked on one before. I have this vague dream of having my own farm one day, so it's cool to just see what it's actually like to work on one, and do farm work, and how the best ways to set it up is. - [Kris] That tall one right in front of you, that's lamb's quarters, so that's a wild one that is really good steamed, and it grows everywhere. A lot of people think they want to farm, and so they're able to come up and, granted, to a very small scale, but able to kind of see what's involved and also experience a different kind of lifestyle. - This is all part of the Tomten Farm property as well. A lot of it's undeveloped. I live on a camper here on the farm. It's a really beautiful way to wake up, to the sun just popping up over the mountain peaks. Yeah, that's pretty much my tiny home. Sam! Oh, there she goes. Yeah, I don't know if you had more questions, or- - It's kind of messy. This is Sushi. That's Haley's dog. But it's nice and spacious. These dogs like it. - [Kris] I call this place reinventing the homestead, so we're trying to take the best of the traditional and add the new. It's a good thing, and I think it's a way of living that people may be yearning for. - Yeah, it's a rhubarb pie. - [Kris] I wouldn't do this without interns. It's that human interaction that is really incredibly important. As I age, and my husband ages, it's like we want to have people around us. The ability to come together and work, and play, and eat, I think that's the connection that we tend to be missing as a society. Okay, tent, tables, tablecloth, sign, sign, sign, goodies. - [Offscreen Voice] Uh, farm box? - Farm box is in the front seat. I think we're good. - [Kris] Every person brings their own perspective. Every person has a depth of knowledge that's unique. I have learned so much. I've learned so much from them. Some of them are still around locally, and some of them are far-flung. Some of them are farming. Some are not doing farming at all, but pretty much every one of them says this experience changes their life somehow. Generally positively. Which is good, which is good. Permaculture has three main ethics. Care of people, care of the earth, and then they call it fair share, or reinvesting surplus back into the first two. So we do a lot of caring for the earth. I think what the interns have taught me is how we can actually care for people, and through doing that, find ways of reinvesting in ourselves. ♫ Where we find a need ♫ Or an answer ♫ When all that we see ♫ Lays beyond us ♫ Once all that we know is gone ♫ Once all that-

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