For years, I have approached my own health care from a “holistic” view point, which looks at the whole person- body, mind, and spirit, rather than just putting band-aides on the symptoms. I also implement this same holistic philosophy in managing my flock of Romney sheep. I realize that simply treating symptoms does not address the cause of the problem. For instance, within my flock, I see a direct correlation between fleece quality and the health of my sheep. If I treat one, but not the other, I am not getting to the core of the problem.
UVM Extension Services, has coordinated Holistic Farm Planning courses the past several years for women farmers. This winter, I have enrolled in the 4 month course in hopes to learn about how to implement holistic practices in managing our farm. The first assignment focused on writing a holistic goal for your farm. The holistic goal becomes your guide or reference point which you base all decisions upon. The past two weeks, I have spent hours working through the process of writing our farm’s holistic goal. In doing so, I evaluated three important areas: quality of life, behaviors that provide that quality of life, and our vision.
- Quality of life simply allows you to think about and articulate what is of value to you. You decide what quality of life you would like to live, what is important to you, and why. Through this process, I looked at relationships, financial concerns, physical and mental health, on farm activities, and off farm activities.
- Behaviors that support and encourage the quality of life you desire need to be identified. If I value time for creativity and fiber arts, then I schedule time in my week for working in my studio and knitting!
- The vision statement determines what needs to be in place in order for you to sustain your quality of life. You must take into consideration what character qualities you need in order to sustain your customer base, how your land/farm must look in the future, as well as what services must be in your community in order to support your quality of life.
So what does all of this have to do with knitting? Actually, it has much to do with knitting since our farm revolves around our flock of Romney sheep, their amazing wool, and the products we create using their wool. I also find that knitting, while listening to lectures, helps me stay focused on the speaker. I have used my time in class this week to begin my gansey sweater, which has been the focus of my Yarn Along posts the past few weeks. Since last week, I have decided to use an entirely different yarn for the project. I am using a natural dark gray, which is a blend of our Romney wool and mohair. I feel that the recipient of this sweater may prefer the darker gray. I only have 1.5 inches of ribbing to knit, and then I can begin the body of the sweater!
Resources for Holistic Management
holisticmanagement.org has many books on holistic management.