“Townside Farm: Definitely Worth Weeding For!”

Prospective interns/apprentices, advisers, visitors, concerned family members and friends alike, I’m going to give it to you straight: What is it really like working and living at Townside farm? Sure, the ads boast “luxury camping” accommodations, wi-fi, and a slew of other attractive features, but I’d like to give you the unfiltered, uncensored story. I am the master of this blog’s domain and the truth shall set me free!

First of all, I need to check my tone because I am definitely satisfied with life at Townside. As fun as it would be to blow the whistle on this organic operation, I have nothing but positive things to report. First and foremost, the living conditions are perfect so long as you don’t mind sharing your stoop with grazing deer in the evenings. The shade structure has two strategically placed walls that keep the hottest sun out and provide a bit of a refuge from neighbors….Despite the half-open exposure I can maintain enough privacy and personal space, except when garden club members are touring the farm.

See the collage of images from this “luxury campsite:”

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Though the living room, bedroom, dining room and kitchen are essentially the same room, it actually does feel like luxury camping. Peter’s even put a rug and lamp in the living room where I can setup my bedroom (tent). The kitchen is probably my favorite space in any place, and I give this one the check-mark of approval. Pots, pans, dishware, stove, storage drawers, pantry (kind of), fridge, toaster-oven, double sink, mirror, hand-drying towel rack, trash can, food-scrap bucket, purified water dispenser…these guys weren’t lying. My Townside Rice and Dahl is just as good, maybe better, than any Sthapatya Vedic kitchen could produce. There’s nothing like having a fridge filled with food that you helped grow and picked that day.

I never knew outdoor showers were so cool (no pun intended). The newly installed solar hot water heater provides hot water morning and evening! The coolest thing (under hot water) is showering under the stars. Its magical. The summer air isn’t too cooling, which I only appreciate when I’m using the shower. At any rate, whether showering or shitting, my needs are met. The composting toilet is an example of sustainable living; sanitary, its duty is to make humanure, and by recycling my nutrients so efficiently I even feel sophisticated doing it.

Ok, the work: 45 hrs/week is accurate. Days can get long. Organic farming is a lot of work. But it’s a labor of love and it feels so good because while contributing to and learning how to strengthen the local food system I’m also exercising my free membership at “Townside Health and Fitness Center.”

I’m literally eating the healthiest lettuce and greens in the County right now as I write this; picked two days ago, grown and harvested with love. At “Townside Health and Fitness” (THF), healthy diet comes as a natural part of the program. Fresh grown fruits, veggies and legumes provide a steady vegetarian diet sure to nutrify, detoxify, and lean-out even the most robust members. No worries for meat-eaters, fresh organic local animal foods are also available weekly at the Silver City farmers market.

This climate will suck you dry; thankfully THF offers a choice of drinkable well-water or uber-purified contained water. The land at THF is also historically part of a region that is renowned for high quality air. People used to come here on doctor’s order back in the day to recover from tuberculosis and other respiratory illnesses. I can’t say the air is as prisine as it used to be, but we’re outside of center-city and at 6,000+ feet elevation your lungs are sure to leave stronger and healthier than when you came.


Today is my day off, so I don’t really want to talk much about the fitness aspect of THF. Needless to say, most of the 45 hrs/week membership includes forearm and hand strengthening exercises, lower back and core strengthening  workouts, and an initiatory workshop on how to make “Earth Hands.” Oh yea, and free tanning.

Because Townside Health and Fitness Center is a chemical free farm and facility, “weeds” have found refuge amidst the cherished chosen crops. The good thing is, master THF trainer and farmer Doug is married to a chi-gong instructor, and understands that overworking leads to burned out energy and chi, which is unsustainable. Therefore, THF does not subscribe to the insanity workout philosophy. However, fields 3, 4, and 5 will probably need to be weeded again next week. (Sigh). Thankfully, THF is blessed with volunteers almost every day of the week who join us to earn the benefits of THF, including a fair share of fresh food to take home.

At the end of the day we smile, look at the camera and exclaim: “Townside Farm: Definitely Worth Weeding For!”


4 responses to ““Townside Farm: Definitely Worth Weeding For!”

  1. YOU are an entertaining writer Mr Jim.
    What a wonderful experience you are having there. It is one thing to grow luscious food in optimal growing conditions and quite another to produce abundance out of moon soil ~ valuable knowledge you are gaining there. Keep it coming.
    Let me know how the recent heat is affecting you. I want to know if you have time to meditate regularly and if you are getting an adequate amount of R & R.

    • Hey Thanks!
      Daily meditation has been consistent and super valuable to balance all the work hours. I’m through 4 weeks and amidst the 2nd week of the Earth Medicine class off the farm. I’ve been pushing it this past week but ingeneral yes, I’m not feeling overworked and have plenty time to sleep, stretch, relax, and have leisure time. I’ve been having fun.

  2. James,
    Good talking to you earlier. I just enjoyed your wonderful articulation of life on the farm ! When we (your Dad, uncles and aunts) were young, we did something similar when we stayed out at our grandparents, Julius & Anna (your greatgrandparents) farm in Pierce. Fresh produce from the garden (loved those peas and strawberries), eggs gathered every morning and chicken soup made from chickens they raised and egg noodles made fresh that morning! We too had to ‘weed’ the garden, pick apples off the trees and dig potatoes right out of the ground! Oh, what a simple life we did enjoy! Just ask your Dad.


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