I just learned that someone included our farm in a short audio essay titled “On the Naming of Farms”, broadcast on KQED, the San Francisco public radio station.
Here’s the quote that I noticed:
Quirky names, like Blue Dragon Farm, Flying Pig Farm, Fluffy Butt Farms or Wrong Direction Farm, are the ones I like best. These names dare you to imagine how they came to be selected, and wonder about the stories behind the scenes.Peggy Hansen
I don’t know Peggy, but I appreciate her insight into our choice of a farm name.
Sometimes when I used to go to farmers markets and people would ask about the farm name, I’d flip the question and ask what the questioner thought the name could mean. It was always fascinating to hear their thoughts. For us, the name has meant different things. It originally came from the concluding lines of Wendell Berry’s poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, in which he praises being unpredictable and off-center. Here are the concluding lines of the poem:
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Sometimes farming in the Wrong Direction is about the intentional choice to do things differently than the norm. That’s what it means when we’re feeling bold. At other times Wrong Direction has been a statement of humility to acknowledge that we’re often spinning out in various wrong directions as we try to settle on right courses. But regardless of which way we manifest Wrong Direction as an ethos and a practice, the poem’s final idea of a continuous exercise in resurrection is always close by. In farming we’re connected to cycles of living, dying, and new birth. Having the possibility of making a series of personal resurrections throughout our farming career is an encouraging concept.
Here’s the link to the original audio clip and transcript.