Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for....

Sustainable farming evokes pastoral images and often romantic notions of being balanced and in harmony with the land and it's ecology. Don't get me wrong, on our best days at Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm we enter a blissful state of flow that seems to exist outside of time. It's exhilarating; and, ten years in, this happens more and more often.

That's not always the case, sometimes there's a there's pressures, pushes, and pulls of time, of family, of deadlines, of weather, of bills, of .... that make our usually elastic bands of resilence brittle and ready to snap. It's at times like these that we have to dig down and find the strength and courage to - ask for help.

One of the times we needed help was when we were applying for our first Frontera Farmer Foundation grant. Part o f the application is tax returns and financial information including the current years taxes. When we applied January 31st was the application deadline. This was a tight turn around for us to get our taxes completed and the financial statements we needed were new to us (My degree is in English, and Beth's is in Education, so finance is not a strong suit).

We'd done our own taxes for the first couple of years on the farm - Beth was still teaching and the farm business was pretty small and seemed simple. In our third year, we decided to have our taxes done professionally by a CPA that neighboring farmer recommended. Unfortunately, his expertise seemed to be even less than ours. With the Frontera deadline looming, we felt overwhelmed; but Beth thought of a solution. A good friend of her's from high school (and a "farm-girl"), Carrie Echols, had her own CPA practice locally.

So, we reconnected with Carrie. She understood farm taxes and accounting and was willing to learn about our unique (community supported agriculture) business approach. Carrie worked with us to get everything completed by the deadline and has been our accountant ever since. It's liberating to know that we don't have to have all the answers and a comfort to have experts we can turn to when we need help. Sustainabilty is NOT about being totally self-sufficient; it's about cultivating and encouraging interdependent relationships that strengthens the whole system.