Warming Up, Ready to Grow

Three weeks ago was the debut of Spring in Central New York and my fiancé Abigail and I decided to celebrate with a trip to Ithaca. We love going to Ithaca—not least because one of our best friends (and Trail Marker logo designer) Ellie lives there.

After meeting up with Ellie, our first venture was the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. A chilly wind, winter’s last gasps, blew through the streets with the sun shining across clear skies. We walked along Cascadilla Creek towards the market and passed through the Ithaca Permaculture Park. Excited to see a successful permaculture endeavor, I explained that my friend Pete Cramer had started a similar project and that I would be filming their event the following day.

We arrived at the market pavilion and experienced a rush of sensations. There were smells of the Thai, Vietnamese and other food vendors wafted through the open wooden architecture; mouth-watering mounds of fresh bread, vegetables, and meats; the echoing sounds of a guitar being played in the distance. I love the energy at a farmer’s market—there’s a real sense of pride in the hard working vendors. It’s satisfying to buy the product right from the person who labored to create it.

We stopped by a mushroom vendor to get oyster mushrooms, then a farmer’s vegetable stand to get rainbow Swiss chard, and finally we snagged a loaf of rosemary sourdough and made our way to the meats. Abigail and I surveyed the menu, thought of how to best craft our dinner that night with what we already bought, and decided on pork chops.

The meat vendor gave us his proud yet modest pitch and told us what set his pigs apart.  His pigs roam freely and forage in the woods around his property so that they are less stressed and in turn keep their bodies from being tense and too sinewy. The cinematic images of steadicam shots following the pigs through the forest played in my head and was brought back to the present when he asked where we were from. When I responded that we were from Auburn, he said he had a good friend there, Peter Cramer. I shared with him my plans to film Pete and the Auburn Permaculture Park and as he wrapped up the pork chops and we finished the transaction. I handed him my business card and told him I’d love to swing by to film his farm sometime if he was interested. A particularly strong, icy gust of wind blew through the pavilion and we said farewell to Michael and to the pavilion.

Later that day, we hiked Robert Treman State Park and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my progress with the business, my relationships, and life in general. I told Abigail and Ellie about the Japanese idea of “Shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing” where you essentially recharge by being amongst the trees. The incredible energy at the market, where so many people had worked with their hands in the dirt, spoke volumes of the benefits of intimacy with nature.

The next day was warm and beautiful, with temperatures reaching up to 75 for the first time in a while. On my drive out to the Auburn Permaculture Park I saw families pushing strollers, men and women exercising, and even a man flying a drone in his front yard—the energy from the change in weather was palpable. When I arrived to the park I saw dozens of volunteers with rakes, hoes, pitchforks, and shovels. Everyone was working to make this park a reality.

I started to film and felt everyone’s positive energy. I could feel the sense of pride and hope for the park. As the day waned and the work was finished for the day I stayed behind to interview Pete and tell him about my adventures in Ithaca.

He was thrilled that I met Michael and he proceeded to share his own passion for permaculture as he diligently inspected the trees. He “oo’d” and “ahh’d” at many of the promising plants and was energized by the promise of the summer ahead.

I looked at many of the plants, carefully manicured and supported, ready for growth, and I thought of my new business. The success and passion I observed at the farmer’s market, in Michael’s description of his farm, in Pete surveying the park, was inspiring. Empowered by the optimism and wisdom of the weekend, I realized that my business can and will be successful—all I need is a diligent eye, the right structure, and the perseverance to make it grow.

-Collin

See our promotional video featuring the park and find out more!