Open Pollinated Grains w/ Rupert Dunn

Open Pollinated Grains w/ Rupert Dunn

Posted by Daniel Griffith on


In this conversation, Rupert shares his journey of growing heritage grains and the importance of cross-pollination and adaptation in the field. He emphasizes the relationship between wheat fields and forests, highlighting the need for biodiversity and relationship. 

Rupert and Daniel also discuss the impact of capitalism on farming and the search for meaning in the face of challenges. They explore the connection between death and capitalism, and the need for emergence and relationship in rewilding and baking. The conversation concludes with a reflection on the transformative power of bread making and the importance of finding meaning and relationship in farming.



  • Growing heritage grains involves cross-pollination and adaptation in the field, leading to a diverse and ever-changing population of wheat varieties.
  • The relationship between wheat fields and forests is important, as the presence of trees and other plants enhances biodiversity and flavor in the grains.
  • The impact of capitalism on farming has led to a loss of meaning and relationship, but there is a growing movement towards regenerative practices and community building.
  • Finding meaning in farming requires embracing the unknown and being open to emergence, as well as maintaining a deep relationship with the land and the process of growing food



Daniel Griffith (00:02.037)

Okay, welcome to another episode of Dnusian. I am joined once again with my dear friend Rupert, who is in Lithuania calling. Rupert, thank you so much for being here. I'm excited for another conversation.


Rupert (00:15.594)

Me too, Daniel. Great to be back. So I hope some folk enjoyed our first one and looking forward to see where this goes.


Daniel Griffith (00:21.933)

Yeah, yeah, we got some good responses from people. I think, you know, having a lot of conversations, individual conversations with, you know, different friends and mentors and colleagues and, you know, people who I would like to be, you know, one of those three. And we'll continue to sprinkle those through. But I really love the idea of these prolonged strings, if you will, these, you know, elongated conversations about, you know, topics that are either similar to each other or really derivatives of each other and where we can really sit down and peel back the layers and have much more of a conversation, less of an interview or something like that. I'm reminded, I did a podcast recently with a Wendell Berry lover and so I had to dive back into some of Wendell Berry's writings and I got to reread one of my favorite essays. I forget the title of it now, I got to put it in the show notes here. But he's more or less Berry that is in this essay lamenting.

the modern state of industrial agriculture and the modern state of rural degeneration and more, as Barry does. He said the next turn is into sustainable farming or local agrarianism as much as it is in becoming a conversationalist again. Then the rest of the essay goes into what that means, but to become a conversationalist between people, between you and the land. There's so many ways you can...

unpeel and unpack that word conversationalist. And so, not that this is perfect. I wish you and I were together and my God, looking at the Virginia winter that surrounds me, I would love to be in Lithuania where the cold is actually cold, the winter is actually winter, and it doesn't, you know, flirt between summer, fall and spring and a little bit of dreary winter like Virginia does. So I wish we were together having real conversations, but for now, this will have to do in time.

I'll make it out there.


Rupert (02:17.61)

Yeah, it just makes waiting for it all the sweeter.


Daniel Griffith (02:22.61)

For me, for me at least. But let's dive into it. Okay, so you've over the last week, as I understand, and correct me as I misunderstand, but you've been traveling around Lithuania. You right now are living with family in the northeast, I believe, and your grain, which I want to talk to you about, is elsewhere. So you got to visit your grains in the ground, work with some local farmers, etc. Let's just start there.

I'll be honest with you, I want to direct this conversation outside of just catching up and understanding your visit to the grains because there's particular beauty and animacy there that I think we can explore. I also want to shift the conversation and I'll tell you now into, I mean, I don't know how long we'll talk about it, but I really want to look at the difference between our initial perceptions of modern agricultural grain production, which I think all of our listeners have a particular perception of.

how that diverges from what you describe as the peasant baker. Like what does a relationship to grain in your situation, what does it look like and how does it really differ from this like modern industrial complex based grain production that often yields, you know, poisonous, you know, food stuffs. They're not even call it nourishment, eroding soil, you know, decreasing amphibian life, decreasing, you know, all sorts of the

I mean, all sorts of life that surrounds those fields. So I wanna get into that. So be prepared for that. But let's just start with your visits to the Grain and let's see how the conversation emerges.


Rupert (03:58.274)

Sure, yeah, I look forward to all of that. Yeah, so I'll identify, I mentioned this in the last conversation, but yeah, essentially we found someone who is willing to sow, so heritage population that I've developed and has been developing, I should say, in the UK, in Wales, and had a friend in England growing it on as well.

As I said, the varieties, most of them originally came from France, although there is an old Welsh variety in the population as well called Haengwmro. Haengwmro means old Welshman. And so that's a very distinct week because it's got a kind of purple coloured straw at one stage and it's ripening in a very velvety ear. The ear is, you know, the ear of the grain where all the grains are stored. So, yeah, that's one of the many, many varieties in the population.

so they all grow together in the field and evolve every year and cross pollinate and adapt. So this is their first year in Lithuania. We thought they were going to be sown up near the coast and things happened that meant that bureaucratic things, documentation and things that were needed. And we didn't have in terms of organics, defecation. So it ended up going down to.

near the capital Vilnius and sown in a field with a farmer who we'd ever met. And so all of a sudden our lives were reoriented to that part of Lithuania, which is a two and a half hour journey from where we are now currently with my wife's family. And so yesterday was the first time I saw the grains in the field having been drilled in early November.

and it was kind of blizzard weather when we went to the field and the three of us saw these little you know very healthy looking green verdant green shoots coming through just poking above the snow and I was most yeah most happy again it was uh I didn't know you know how they'd been down in this sense of um of not knowing it feels like our lives are in a similar

place to the grains in Lithuania, we're just emerging and we're quite tender and new here as well. And so we're kind of, yeah, it felt quite fitting that the grains went into the soil before we came to Lithuania. And then sort of we're finding our way as those grains develop here and find a kind of emerge out into this new place and climate and all these different energies and


Rupert (06:53.699)

and finding themselves here going, whoa, okay, so, you know, how are we going to respond to this? And we're doing exactly the same. So, you know, I like this idea, you know, this kind of these epigenetics that there's these, you know, dormant genetics, or I suppose, I suppose you could liken them to this idea, falsely phrased idea of junk DNA, you know, in ourselves.

that, you know, when we get thrown into a new environment, that there's parts of us that get woken up that were otherwise dormant. And that is a deeply challenging place, but it's also a place that represents a lot of growth. So yeah, in that sense of that relational place, that's how I, yeah, that's how I feel it. And going to see the Wheatfield was just a...

very joyful experience. There's a long way to go in terms of the crop. And as the farmer was explaining to me, the soil there is very sandy. So it's prone if you get a dry spring, which is quite possible, quite probable even, that soil will get very dry. So we shall see, there'll be challenges ahead. And if you'll allow me, there is a little story that I was once told by a Sufi friend.

which relates very nicely to this. So nice to add a story, I suppose, to the start of our conversation. And that is when the world was being created, a farmer said to God.

has been this sense of the Allah, that there's many names we can use. And he said, well, look, God, I know you're all knowledgeable, all powerful, but you know nothing about farming. I'm a farmer, you know, and really, if you just follow my instructions, just make sure that the weather is thus, that we can do what we need to do, then look.

There's going to be so much food for the next decade, no one's going to have to go hungry. So, you know, the weather was just perfect and he sowed his grains and everything was going absolutely really, really well. And harvest time was coming and the farmer said, look, look Allah, look God, this field, this just looks fantastic. The grains have grown so high, which is obviously in those days is a...

would have been a great indication of their strength and vitality before they got bred short. And then anyway so they harvested the you know farmers like I told you I told you God look this is working great. Harvested all the wheat and there was no grain in the ears, no grain. And the farmer said I don't know what happened you know what happened and then I said

Without struggle, there is no yield. So yeah, I like that story keeps me grounded


Daniel Griffith (10:00.833)

Wow. Yeah, no, for sure. I mean, last episode, you know, our last conversation, I think, I don't want to misproperly quote you, but you said, germination requires darkness, or something to this regard. And yeah, that's, it's, I see it. I want to talk about that, I really do. But before I let us leave this idea of open pollination, help me, especially, also our listeners.


Daniel Griffith (10:30.949)

Let's just use a different vegetative plant. Let's say broccoli. Like when I think about broccoli, it's broccoli. You know, it's just, that's just what it is. When I think of a tomato, you know, be it a Roma tomato or a cherry tomato or a sun gold tomato, whatever, it's just, it's a tomato. You know, and I plant the seed and I harvest the tomato. Obviously much, not much of a gardener, if you will. You can see in the question, but like what does open pollinated mean? And what do you mean that there's Welsh varieties and French varieties? And what do you mean that they're working together in the same field and get into that. What's open pollination in grain production?


Rupert (11:06.606)

Sure, well, I'm not an agronomist, so I'm not a scientist of the process. I can only speak from what knowledge I do have from people I've learned from and from my experience of working with the grains. A very good guy to listen to if you want to learn more. This is a Italian kind of holistic agronomist. You might say his name is Salvatore Ciccarelli.

He's worked in Syria and Italy and created many different kinds of populations with peasant varieties, which was always generally the way amongst peasant people in most countries, was to work with diverse mixtures of varieties. Not exclusively, of course, but to a large degree. And, yeah, different people have different views.

My understanding is, you know, generally speaking between three and five percent of the varieties in the field will cross pollinate every year. I've even heard a figure of up to eight percent being talked about. It depends on, I guess, your varieties, the weather at the time, the climate.


Rupert (12:27.338)

And it's a very, very beautiful time in the field. Um, and people probably don't really haven't seen wheat flowering in the field, but it does. And, uh, do you have these little flowers on the ears and it's a beautiful time in, uh, in the year. It's a very magical time because that is the time when cross-pollination will, will occur. So you can imagine you've got, you know, hundreds of thousands of years of wheat and in, on a heritage, um, variety, you know, eat.

each ear from the same plant will have slightly different genetic expression as well. So even the plant itself, each ear will express itself differently. And then you've got that mixture of varieties added to all of that. So you've got this huge web, and if you were to draw a diagram of all the differences and the paths that they cross through, it would be just...

huge amount of enmeshed relationships, wouldn't it? And so you imagine them, you know, swaying in the wind and in the breeze or whatever, and then there's the insects buzzing around through them, because you've got all sorts of other plants growing in the field flowering as well. And you just imagine that buzz of interrelatedness there, that you've got, yeah, you've got the possibility to have some of those varieties to cross-pollinate.

and then a new variety to be born in the field in that year. And so, you know, the population that I grow, you know, as I keep sowing it in the fields here in Lithuania, in this particular region, in the particular soils, they will become their own population. They won't be the same population anymore of the place that they came from. And that process is not being managed by me, although of course we're in relationship to the extent that...

I am selecting some of the varieties and the work that is going on in the field is standing on the shoulders of my friends who are peasant farmers in France who have taken those varieties on from their ancestors. And so it continues. And so, you know, when we think of, oh, well, you know, this kind of idea that there's this variety, there's this variety in the world.


Rupert (14:52.354)

there's actually just this massive diversity of ever changing numbers of varieties of wheat. And so we think of heritage grain as one thing, but it's not one thing. There's so many different kinds of expression, different flavors, different ways of, you know. And so ultimately, when it comes to making the bread from those varieties, and this is what we see much more when you go to countries like Italy.

Turkey, for instance, that there'll be breads from that region, which are from those grains, which make a certain type of bread. We find ourselves in, you know, even within the artisan bread, flourishing, that's happened over these last few years in the UK, where I'm from, that all the artisans are almost trying to make the same kind of loaf, because that's what it's got to be like. We're a long way still from a real local expression. And...

and a sacred relationship locally to those grains as well. So I've sort of gone on from that a bit, but yeah, that's the essence of it really.


Daniel Griffith (16:04.785)

Right. I think about open pollination very similarly as I think about biodiversity. It's very easy to discuss. These are open pollinated grains. This is biodiversity. Both of them, let's say, are needed. And both of them fulfill particular requirements and particular conversations that we have in the modern world, all the way from local food production all the way to climate change. But what I'm hearing from you and

and thinking about on this end is, you know, I made a comment years ago that biodiversity is a word I struggle with to some degree to really understand because I don't know how much it is understandable. And the individual I was talking to, you know, felt a little bit lost because they had truly bought into the narrative that, you know, the climate is changing and that biodiversity healing and reversing biodiversity losses is one of the ways that we really can finally combat the climate emergency. And so making biodiversity a little bit more ungrounded.

at least in the language that we utilize to describe it, was ungrounding to them as well, because it didn't grounded their firm belief systems. But to get to the point, it's this. When we talk about biodiversity, we often talk about numbers, mathematical amounts of species. There's five species instead of 10 species. But even still there, what we really lack is the nuance to, really, it's like the servitude to the complexity.

which is that even at the species level, right? Because grains aren't the only things that are open pollinated, of course, right? Grains are a member of the vegetative community in the same sense that grasses are a member of the vegetative community, you know, in their own way and special in their own way. But even still, you know, you have cool season grasses, you have warm season grasses, you have forbs and legumes. You know, a lot of the grasses are actually very similar to grain varieties, you know, wild oats, you know,

Eastern gamma grass is a derivative of corn and corn is a derivative of Eastern gamma grass. Their seed heads look very similar, ancient maize varieties, et cetera. But the point is that even as Eastern gamma grass or corn or tall fescue, a very modern cool season grass that a lot of farms in the Eastern Coast of the United States grow for forage and other things in their developed pastures and meadows, even they have their own particular expressions. And so we love taking students, like we have this ecological monitoring.


Daniel Griffith (18:28.797)

Ecological Outcome Verification that is, and an Eco-Literacy course we're teaching here at Timshel in this upcoming May. And we love, and we'll do this at this course too, but we love taking students out to the fields, a very diverse meadow, if you will. And we ask them, you know, where is the biodiversity? Like, where do we sit in the growth stage? Where do we sit in the ecological chain of succession? Is this a grassland that's pushing towards a forest? Is it a forest that is being diminished back into a grassland?

diminished not either positive or negative, ethically or morally or abundance wise. It's just which way are we going in this successional linear chain and what you often find and here's the question for you and I wonder if the same thing is true for open pollinated grain fields that are done in a very holistic peasant-like framework, ancestral-like framework that is to say I think. It's often completely overwhelming.

and completely ungrounded on where we are. Meaning that the students can't tell us, is this a grassland? Because there's tons of forbs, shrubs, trees, emergence coming in. Is it a developed silvopasture? Are the trees coming in? Are they going? There's so much expression. There's so much nuance. And there's even some nuance and complexity at the species level, being that this is not necessarily purely a eastern gamut grass plant. There's so much more nuance to it. As it understands itself.

as it inhabits its local environment with a community, but also genetically. You know, it's emerging as a unique genetic species or a unique genetic expression of its species. And so there's complexity at that level too. And so the question, I mean, like, so one, that exists in grain production as well. I guess that's a question. And number two, do you find that in an open pollinated grain field that this idea of industrial refuses to exist.


Rupert (20:30.094)

Can you clarify that first? So what are you asking me if what you are asking me does exist in a grain field related to the...


Daniel Griffith (20:36.805)

I guess, yeah, that's a good, yeah, straighten me out. I think what I'm really trying to ask, if I really try to simplify, when the modern man discusses diversified meadows, I think a grain field is the antithesis in their mental picture, in the story. But what I'm getting from you is that your grain fields maybe are not, and I'm curious as if that is true, and if it is, why?


Rupert (20:50.144)



Daniel Griffith (21:05.83)

Why is that true?


Rupert (21:10.022)

Okay, yeah, that is it. You have a knack of encountering the most subtle territory, Daniel. This is the joy and the difficulty of being interviewed with you because you raise such balanced, nuanced things for discussion. You have to go into such a place that's not immediately


Daniel Griffith (21:21.115)

Unfortunately, you can see I stumbled right through it, falling headlong along the way.


Rupert (21:38.146)

full of clarity, you know, so this is one of those questions. That's your that's this is this is great. So.


Daniel Griffith (21:40.518)



Rupert (21:49.034)

Look, I guess what comes to me is that we live in a spectrum. We interact with nature or the environment, whichever way you want to put it, in different ways. Nature expresses herself in different ways. And that we are part of, we are part, and creators as well, co-creators.

of an unfolding process, a creative process, a process of beauty and a cyclical process of expansion and retraction. And in that sense, I would, I see our interaction with growing grains as a place in that spectrum. And so we,

we still have a relationship to the forest and we would hope, one would hope that we have some, at least some really nice good head rows around that field, that the fields are not so huge that, that there are those sinews connecting all the relationships between the plants in the arable area with the permanent plants.

And I love to grow wheat in a field which is just surrounded by trees, you know, mature trees, it just brings a wonderful, a wonderful feeling to the place. And I do see a wheat field as a mini forest, but the life cycle is obviously much faster than the forest. And in that sense, for me, a wheat field, we're used to seeing, you know, monocultural wheat fields as

The farmer wants to get the ground underneath those wheat plants. He wants to completely obliterate any competition there because he wants to maximise yield. And often most farmers will obviously spray to do that. Other farmers, even organic, will make sure they go through with weeders etc. to hit back the weeds, go into row weeders etc. But what I always look for is for you have it's a dance and you


Rupert (24:14.042)

you know if the wheat plants get away at the right time then underneath emerges a meadow underneath and when you harvest that crop then your animals could go straight in there and great. Yeah so if you want it you know you can yeah so that's the way that I look at it and I would want to see at least sort of I don't know 20

or more species, other species of plants in the field with all these diverse varieties of wheat as well. Very, very important. And in fact, that is, as I understand it, where a lot of the flavour comes from is in the interrelationship between the plants, the wheat plants and the other species. And legumes, of course, very important to have with your wheat in the field as well. So, father beans, very nice to grow with the wheat.

Yeah, so I am trying to sort of remain grounded amounts to the question and kind of keep us in the imagining being in the in the field and experiencing it as an answer to your question. I suppose there's different, different ways to answer it. Is there, do you want me to go on into any other aspects on that?


Daniel Griffith (25:30.074)

No, I mean only if you would like to. I mean you answered my question wonderfully. I mean I feel completely satisfied. And what you're pitching...


Rupert (25:36.466)

Yeah, there is. I answered my own question, but there is one more aspect that seems to sit with me that I wanted to mention. And that was when I went to India to visit farmers a few years back. And I went to, there was a deity, a little shrine somewhere, and I asked him, who's the deity there? They said this is Goddess Sita and goddess, and I think you'd heard of her as well when I mentioned to you. She's the goddess that was found.


Daniel Griffith (25:43.985)



Rupert (26:05.726)

in the ground when the plough till the soil and...

And again, I've been in the wheat field doing surveys, with a clipboard, how many varieties, and something in me switches off, turns off, because it's purely focusing on that place as information. You're in your mind and you're counting. And again, we're in that mind of discrimination then, almost. And so that we talked about in the first podcast. So for me, the first place that I go to...

is that place of sensing and feeling just how do I feel what's happening for me here, how am I responding to this place, before then going into very valuable disciplines of looking at what plants are growing there and learning about etc. And so we maintain our experience in a holistic sense. And I think the same goes because tillage is something we all

that has a lot of bad press these days and I suppose rightly so in many ways because again we have this capacity to do these things to the land now so easily as we do with deforestation for instance because we have these machines that can so easily rip into places and therefore we use it and we use it and if we're commodity focused then we just end up

Every time we plough the field, there's a goddess in the soil that's coming out. Well, how do we therefore relate to the activity? And again, if we're not in the mind of discrimination, then we're not actually judging the activity itself, we're looking for the relationship in it. And that is the thing that ends up being the possible thing to change how we act in the environment because we're in relationship. And there is another story that a...


Rupert (28:11.114)

anthroposophist, a beekeeper told me, from Austria, Ralph Rosen, and it's a remarkable story and it kind of illustrates this point. And he said he was going for a walk and he could see up ahead of him there was a farmer on a bridge and he was on his trailer and he was trying to... he had a barrel of oil.

And I think it was wet, like, as I understand it, it was like bits of waste oil from the farm that he just ended up accumulating this barrel. And he was trying to tip this barrel into the stream.

And his first reaction when he saw this was horror, of course, and that he needed to intervene to stop this happening, and an indignation as well.

But Ralph has this ability to perceive other realms, other beings. And he saw, I think he said it was the tree and another being there, the being of the tree and another being actually trying to help the farmer to tip the oil in the stream. So the life forces there were actually trying to help him.

And so he realized that he shouldn't intervene. And then therefore he kind of, he just stepped back and he kind of watched from wherever distance he was at. And what happened was the farmer was just about to actually being able to tip this heavy barrel that must have been over the side of his trailer into the stream. And then something in him realized what he was doing. And Ralph said he broke down in tears. And...


Rupert (30:05.302)

You know, that's a remarkable story. I've always remembered in telling me that. And yeah, illustrates that if we reserve our judgment, if we, as ecologists or as anyone, you know, trying to, we talk about going out to fix what's wrong and that we must act.

that if we do reserve judgment, it can allow a different space to unfold. That's far more transformative. Um, and when I've been growing wheat in West Wales, I didn't have my own land. So I was renting land and I go out to local farmers and the conventional farmers, inverted commas, just lovely people. They just wanted to help. And they're in this paradigm that they didn't really appreciate. They didn't enjoy, they would tell me if their laments have happened to farming.

and knocking on their doors is an experience of feeling the transformation that can happen when we do come together without that judgement.


Daniel Griffith (31:21.469)

Right. Yeah, that's the very complexity that I think scares many of us. It's that there's, you know, truly no binary sense to this thing. I think the different movements wants us to feel like there is a binary sense, a right and a wrong, a one and a zero, a yes and a no, um, outrightly. For instance, in climate change, you have carbon in the atmosphere is bad, carbon in the soil is good, and there's nothing in between.

No sense of patience, no sense of the genius of local place, no sense of individual action inhabiting that time and place as those actions want to inhabit. No understanding of the beings and the life forces in the trees looking at and maybe even helping the certain farmers do certain things that the traveler or the passerby might perceive to be as entirely negative to the accepted goal solving climate change.

And the same thing I think is true out here. It's so interesting. We live in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, in this forgotten river valley where many of our neighbors are, Jamestown, so early 1600s, pre-American Revolution, so early 1700s, and they've been here since. And there's this forgotten pace to their lives that is very slow, very patient. And the world is beckoning.

the world is tearing at the seams, you know, certain farmers are passing, their children long have moved on, do the economic realities of the rural landscape, which I think one of our conversations, if it's today, if it's next week, whenever it is, I think we really want to dive into what that really looks like. This idea of money and debt and capitalism and the idea of the natural functioning of natural landscapes. And, you know, if those things can really cohabitate the same world.

Modern industrialism, it's beckoning at the door. It's trying to come in and say, this is good. This is bad This is the right way. This is the wrong way But like you're saying when you step back, I know I've never met a farmer and I've said this many times over many different places I've never met a farmer Industrial regenerative organic sustainable permaculture biodynamic, whatever they are. I've never met a farmer that said I Enjoy killing people,


Daniel Griffith (33:45.045)

I enjoy killing the earth. This makes complete sense to me. Right? But what they rather lack is, and so in that sense, you know, it's not like they've chosen one or the other. Instead, they live their lives in this muddied middle ground where they lack education. I've seen nine and a half times out of 10, they lack a community, like you're discussing here. You know, to someone to help, right? They farm in a particular way because they have no help. They have no money. They have no social...

you know, realities that helped them, you know, get forward, whatever it is. They were renting land and this is what the, the lands, uh, Lord, you know, wants them to do, et cetera. But they're always locked into somebody else's paradigm. You know, it's not their own. And, um, you know, community, I think is one way forward through this complexity, just a heightened sense of community, which in some senses is a, uh, distraction from our very modern, complex, commercialized and capitalistic type lives.

Right? Community coming to save the day isn't exactly the capitalistic narrative, uh, where you can pull yourself up by your own boots, bootstraps, right? The phrase as, as that goes is the antithesis of community coming in the same, the day. But anyways, I'm a little bit lost in some thought, but to ground us, I think, you know, what I'm getting from you is that there's great complexity if we allow it to inhabit the landscape and from open pollinated grains to rewilding, you know, or rewilded animals on rewilding lands.

you know, as we're working on, it seems like there's a singular narrative, which it's not the only narrative, but it does have a very singular nature to it, which is that complexity exists and there's truly no binary sense of reality.


Daniel Griffith (35:26.677)

even when you're looking at the open grains, you know, I keep thinking about, you said at the most it's like 8%, which to me means that even in open pollinated grains, some of the grains aren't even open pollinating. They decide to stay closed for whatever reason. Some agronomists can tell us or maybe you know, but it's the same thing true with animals. I mean, some animals breed every three years. Some animals, you know, at the same species as animals that breed, you know, once a year, every year. And so there's decisions, cognitive animacy is how I'm writing about it in this new book.

There's decisions that all life is undergoing for some purpose, some understanding of the self, some genetic expression that needs to inhabit their epigenetic realities to move this system forward in a way that makes sense to them in that moment, not all moments, not across all time, but in that moment. And there's beauty there. But as we talk about this, like I was on a podcast, I was a guest on a podcast yesterday.

And, you know, we were talking about this complexity and nuance and, and the podcast host looked at me and said, okay, but like, outside of completely overwhelming everyone, like, can we say something that's a little bit grounded and helpful? And because all of this, I think is completely overwhelming to a lot of people, you know, and historically, when we do podcasts and talk the way you and I have talked on this very episode, you know, I get emails from people saying, you know, yes, but.

You know, or, yeah, that's interesting, but there's still realities that we have to deal with. The climate is still an emergency. I still need to make money. Uh, people still need to eat, et cetera. Like we can talk about all this philosophical stuff about, you know, like you were saying 14 plus different or 20 different species of a meadow that grow underneath the grain harvest. While that sounds nice philosophically, when you think about it, that's also a less grain harvest in terms of pure volume, I would imagine.

you're not going to get as much grain from that acre or hectare as you would in a conventionally you know, imbued and you know, fertilized in tents and you know, completely devoid of all other life perspective. I would imagine that the crops look like that.


Rupert (37:31.214)

Well, you might over a period of years, you might get more, because soil is better.


Daniel Griffith (37:35.857)

Well, there you go. But again, that's down to time. I talk to a lot of farmers who just say, Daniel, I haven't made any money the first five years because they're focused on seven generations ahead. And in the same sense, in the beginning, it might be less of a yield per hectare or acre or something, but in the end, it might be more. And so there's a time component. What do we do today? We're not interested in the seven years ahead or seven generations ahead.

you know, as an ancestral and indigenous legacies or telling us we have to be looking to the future, not just to the next moment. Okay, so anyways, the question that I really wanna dive into is like talking about the death process. You know, when you were first talking at the beginning of this episode, I said I wanted to come back to that after we explore this idea of open pollination. And so maybe this is a good time to turn back to it. Looking at the death process, you know, there seems to be an inherent...

tension. It's not conflict, it's not a war, it's just a little tension. There's an inherent tension between the idea of capitalism, that is to say, putting in time and getting out more value than the time in which you placed. Because if we put in more time, but we decrease in the value that we get out of it, capitalism starts to crumble at that point. Capitalism seems to be imbued with the idea that you put in time and you get more out of it.

I had an economics professor in college that said that the idea of a capital exchange is that it is a trade of unequal value, meaning that if you pay $1 for a cheeseburger, you value the cheeseburger more than the dollar, but the individual selling the cheeseburger values the dollar more than the value of the cheeseburger. So it's an exchange of unequal value. That is the same thing with time and value in capitalism. We are exchanging time to get more value.

because the value that we're getting out of that time is more valuable to us than the value of time inherently. Let's just say that is capitalism in this conversation. There's an inherent tension between that idea of capitalism and what you're describing to be this peasant lifestyle where on small scale acreage you are planting open pollinated grains that while you and the farmers drill them into the soils, you do not control them.


Daniel Griffith (39:54.161)

To some sense, you're not even managing what open pollinates with what species grow underneath the understory that could be grazed after harvest, the diversity of meadow grasses and legumes and forbs and such. And so while you're inhabiting the landscape, you're not controlling it. There's a particular time there that is required, a particular nuance that must be respected in a particular complexity that must be adhered to. That really is intention.

with this capitalistic system of debt and financial return and feeding the world from a Bushel's perspective. What is that? One, I guess we should just not assume. One, do you think that tension exists? And two, I mean, what's your thoughts in regard to its validity as we sit in the modern world?


Rupert (40:46.05)

So you've got two things in there. You've got, you mentioned this process of death and that process, both inwardly and in the field. And then we've got capitalism. So, yeah.


Daniel Griffith (41:02.105)

I'm kind of leading you into questioning if capitalism needs to die in order for what you're describing to be accessible to more people. And I don't mean capitalism to die in the sense that capitalism as a global endeavor is just over instantaneously. But it's almost like the capitalisms play over the human soul or over the human's intellect as its soul plays out, if that makes sense. It's like your own relationship to capitalism that needs to die. That's I guess another question.


Rupert (41:30.526)

Yeah. Okay. So I don't think that I can answer all of that, but I will. Again, just sensing into what you said. I think I'm going to go back to that, where you started about when you had, you know, you were the guest on your podcast and people were saying, yes, okay, all very well, but.


Daniel Griffith (41:42.342)



Rupert (41:59.646)

Yeah, but you know, and I think we're, everyone is looking for the map. Everyone wants the map or wants to profess they have the map or getting us to some sort of destination, which is some finite point and as Nietzsche, you know, kind of pointed out, we can, we can live our entire lives to, to supposedly try and peak at one moment, presumably that would be just before we die when we've

accumulated the most things we can when we've achieved all things we want to, when we've left everything we can for our children, and then we go as if that was an end point. And how impossible that is, and how the design of nature just doesn't allow that. And so we ask ourselves, you know, oh well...


Daniel Griffith (42:48.869)



Rupert (42:56.938)

Is there a map or, I was fascinating about the time that we live in. It seems to be a flourishing of, of people expressing experiences, intuitive knowledge, intuitive healing processes in all sorts of ways. Um, I talk about, for instance, Gabor Maté, just the impact he's having on the world at the moment. Um, and, uh, you know, what he said about these really Palestine conflicts and those things.

sort of issues, dare I mention it. But I talk about these things because really to be in relationship means to, you know, my humble kind of experience is to act and not know. And act with some awareness that, you know, we're just human beings learning on the path. And we're, when most of the time, you know, I suppose

there's this saying, isn't there, that we know most of what we know by accident. And, you know, by being in relationship, you see what works and maybe what doesn't within the context that we are living in. And what, what you call capitalism, what we call capitalism, feels to me like a scaffolding for our lives, which keeps us from ourselves. And we are.

imbued into this supposed sense of comfort, which is quite materialistic. And therefore we're looking for the map to exit this paradigm and live in a better one without encountering the place of unknowing in ourselves that I feel is necessary. You can also call it a descent and I've just been feeling that...

a descent here arriving in Lithuania seven weeks ago into the cold and the dead of winter and just not being in relationship here because I only come sporadically and there's a whole part of me that needs to refine myself here and come into relationship with seen and unseen things. And that's hard. And I don't know, I don't know the outcomes. When the wheat is planted in the field, every single farm will tell you that they...


Rupert (45:21.302)

they cannot guarantee the outcome. But in our fear, in our fear of loss, in our fear of grief, we cling to systems which purport to give us the most safety. And where we actually find ourselves as a result is...


Rupert (45:44.982)

I feel a life devoid of meaning. And this is true farming as it is any other work of life.


Daniel Griffith (45:51.805)

Yeah. Why do you think that is? You know, why do you think when I'm on the podcast, you know, the response to an entirely true but deeply philosophical call to complexity is met with yes, but or why, as you say, you know, is this lack of relationship, you know, and you've called capitalism a scaffold to really knowing yourself and being yourself. I love that. Like, why do you think that is? Like, why do you think humans struggle to truly be relationship?


Rupert (46:24.974)

I can't say I know the answer. I mentioned Gabor Mati. We have a lot of trauma in our lives. I have trauma in mind. We said that there isn't a family without trauma. I often feel here in Lithuania.


Rupert (46:44.222)

I was talking to someone yesterday and I said, what, what's your, what's your relationship with your grandfather like? What was it like? And he said, well, he, he was passionate Lithuanian, he creative man.

During the Soviet occupation, the Soviet soldiers beat him and he had brain injuries. And so that's just one story for meeting one person.

So what I feel sometimes is that we've been given this sort of golden image of what we call capitalism, which is represented by these big shopping centers here in Lithuania. And the memory of the peasant way of life has also been wound up with all of this trauma and this hardship, real trauma and real hardship that I couldn't possibly imagine. And therefore, the love of it and the values of it have

been hastily, people have hastily withdrawn from those because probably maybe they don't see much choice of anything else and is desperate to get out of that hardship. But we've thrown in many ways throwing the baby out with the bath water, as it were. So we, we find that we've thrown all, you know, a lot of the meaning and belonging relationship in our lives out with, and you know, you can say the same for


Rupert (48:19.127)

After the Second World War, you know, in the UK, as I understand it, most of the allotment sites, things sort of fell into disuse. No one wanted to grow food anymore. They wanted to get away from that represented hardship. They represented survival in war, not joy in relationship with the land. And that is changing our people. Just to look at the allotment analogy, for example.

I think now there's just not enough, people can't get them. So it shows that people coming back into relationships who want to do those things and have that time in their life on the land and growing in their gardens.

Does that answer your question?


Daniel Griffith (49:02.82)

Yeah, there's a false sense of security. You know, because you were talking and I was thinking, why? Why does surviving...

And I don't mean that negatively. You know, I realize it feels negative when I say it, but you know, why does surviving being, being alive, staying alive? Like why, why is that turned away from in response to the hardship surrounding a global war? And, and, and obviously there's individual trauma. There's individual realities in the local place. Everybody's story is different. My grandfather, when he was 14, ran away and fought in world war two. And, uh, we were talking about my sisters in town.

with her husband who's in the Navy. And last night over a fire, they put the kids down and we were talking later than I would have liked. I'm an early to bed, early to rise type. But we were talking about how, you know, for my grandfather to do that, to run away at 14 and join the Navy during World War II, the life on the ship, because that's all he did, he just literally snuck on a ship, had to be better than his life at home to some degree.

or there was an aspect of it that was more positive than the negativity of his current life. And that speaks volumes. And I never thought about it like that. It was a comment made by my brother-in-law who lives on many ships as a naval officer. And it was an interesting perspective I got because we can talk about these things. We can talk about industrialism's rise following the world wars of the early 20th century.

you know, in conventional agriculture is really, you know, ascendancy into the four where food production is almost seen as a religious endeavor. You know, not just as the yeoman farmer, which had, you know, been an icon delivered to the American continent, the North American continent, I should say, you know, in the 18th century by Thomas Jefferson and many others, but actually the production of food as a religious endeavor. We are feeding the world. Look at the local farmer.

who's producing for the global world, right? The local farmer producing for the global world. It's religious. And so we can't truly separate the idea of industrialism's rise from the local nuance of place. Like that's the last thing we should possibly do. But, you know, in terms of that, but, you know, there's a story that we have to tell ourselves, I think, especially in the modern world, because we can't speak for our grandfathers in that generation.


Rupert (51:14.019)



Daniel Griffith (51:37.221)

But especially in the modern world, to some degree, there's a story that we're saying to ourselves that this modern life, peaceful as it is, although it is filled with war, turbulent also, but also full of health, right? Like how many people are getting up today thinking to themselves, I really hope that I don't die today, or I really hope that I have enough food to fill my belly today. Like those things.

to some degree for the grand majority of people living in this world today. And obviously it's not the case for everyone. Um, another conversation, but for a grand majority of people, that's not their first concern, you know, where are they going to get water today? That's not the first concern, the tap, right? To many people listening to this, that's just the average case. And so there's a false sense of security. And I guess what I really want to question here is at what point does the false sense of security denude or reduce so completely the reality of survival?

 that there really is no going back, if that makes sense, because the rise of industrial agriculture, let's say, this turn away from the peasant lifestyle, in some sense was a traumatic response. And I think it needs to be understood as such, right? Global war, 80 million dead, trauma, feeding, you know, trying to feed the people on the front lines, the warriors, our cities are, you know, bombed or destroyed or in jeopardy or taken over, like you're saying, in the Soviet occupation. Like I can see that.

But we've emerged from that. That trauma still obviously lives in us. That is still the story that we are told. But I guess the question is still, what in modern life, what perceived safety do we need to start questioning?

Does that make sense? It's a little bit more simple of a question that I arrived at.


Rupert (53:26.998)

It feels like you're so adequate, I'll try and bring it down to some, so we can imagine something tangible in response to it. I guess the simple thing one is I remember once in the winter in the village in West Wales when the pipes froze and people didn't have water in the houses, how all of a sudden neighbours started knocking on doors and coming out and saying you're right, bring us in water. And there used to be a well in the middle of that village.

and the well of community you might say and that's no longer there and we've got taps and we're provided for through the systems but we have to go out to work to pay for those conveniences right so we go out to work to pay for the conveniences we have but we don't see the neighbors in the way that we used to and I guess that's just that encapsulates the whole world for me in the way that those systems have affected us and

I'm reminded of when we spent three months living in Romania two years ago. People were telling me about the communities in... I can't remember where in Romania they were because we didn't visit them, but the Orthodox Hungarian communities, the Orthodox people, were very strong in their religious beliefs.

and they actually didn't become victims of capitalism. Because the European labour market is designed to take people out of countries like Romania especially, and Eastern Europe, to feed the workforce in countries like Britain, Germany, where the industry was. That's just how the whole thing was designed in my view. And then...

but the Orthodox Hungarian communities, their children, they didn't grow up and leave the villages. They, to a much greater extent, their villages are full of many generations living together. And you could say the same probably in the States about the Amish and Mennonites as well. So there's examples in the world where communities have retained their spiritual connection and purpose.

that the economic systems actually haven't affected them in the same way. As soon as we become, we become disassociated from those beliefs through very real hardship and persecution, then we fall prey to a more materialist approach to life, I would say, that you mentioned, if we bring it back to farming. You mentioned that farming would be considered a religious practice. And there's a wonderful book, if you're interested in reading more about grains called Restoring Heritage Grains by Elie Righosa. And she writes that the Arabic word filaha means farming or husbandry, and fella means husbandman, tillet of the soil or farming peasant.

 Filaha also means to thrive, prosper, well-being or happiness. The word is sung out from the minarets of every mosque during the call to prayer. Haye ala lafala, which means come to wellbeing or come to holiness. So husbandry, wellbeing and worship are inextricably united.


Daniel Griffith (57:27.377)

beautiful. No, that's, I need to have a response, but I don't. Because it's so it's just true. You know, I think we started touching this a little bit last episode. We didn't dive into it too fully. But in the writing of this, this book that I find myself in Mezhtan is, you know, I've been researching the history of agriculture, which is a strange thing to say, because generally, it is accepted that culture rose 10,000 years ago, you know, and really founded civilization because it gave us leisure, because we had excess, you know, we could store the grains, if you will. And with that excess time, we built cities and nations and began warring as a people and, you know, the rest of the 10,000 years played out. You know, and I'm reading through these histories and David Graeber, or Graeber, he wrote, I forget, it's a monumental book. It's like it had 800, 900 pages.

And I'm digging through that and I'm finding a lot of those things interesting. And then I turned to Google, which is not something I find myself often doing. But I found in 2019, there was this team, international team of scientists, archeologists really, working in the Jordanian river valley. So Israel, Middle East, generally speaking. And they were doing some archeological excavations and they discovered evidence by 2020 had really been quote unquote proven as the archaeological findings can ever truly be proven. But they were proven to demonstrate agricultural food production in that valley some thousand years ago. Well, the interesting thing is as they started to carbon data, the numerical findings, the date was too surprising. And so they spent basically an entire other year, second year in the process.

I mean, going through other dating mechanisms, bringing in teams of geologists to look at the soil stratums, doing carbon-14 dating and 16 dating and all these other things that I don't understand. But a plethora of dating sciences came in to illustrate the validity of the first dating measurement, which was 23,000 years ago. And so what the paper concludes, and it's just tearing the history right at the seams, but...


Daniel Griffith (59:47.921)

there was absolute agricultural production 23,000 years ago in the Jordanian River Valley, which is at least, let's see, 23,000. I mean, let's just put it in this way. More time exists between 23,000 years ago and the perceived beginning of farming of agriculture than the perceived beginning of agriculture in today. So there's more time in between this civilization of agriculture and the supposed rise of agriculture


as we as a human species go back to the beginning of civilization and we're still closer to that than that is to these people that were agriculturalists 23,000 years ago. And so, you know, I think there's a linear narrative that we buy into that at first we were hunter gatherers and then we were pastoralists and then we started to realize that when, you know, plants grow, they produce seeds and those seeds actually do something, which by the way, if you really actually pause, think about this.


Rupert (01:00:20.991)



Daniel Griffith (01:00:45.037)

If you really actually pause and see the human species as relatively old, just older than 10,000 years ago, if you perceive it to be relatively old, you have to look at it from the same perspective of the settler colonial mind that came to the quote unquote new world, looked at the indigenous people and called them uncivilized or, you know, needing of, you know, religion and civilization, it's the exact same mind.


because you have to put them in the space that for thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of years, they looked at a plant growing, right? Let's just whatever it was. I'm looking outside and there's a bunch of oxidized crown beard outside of our house. It's yellow native wildflower here to the eastern coast of the United States. And they had to look at, let's say, yellow crown beard and every year it produced seeds. And every year those seeds blew in the wind. And every year those seeds found new home and grew new plants. And for hundreds of thousands of years, we never noticed.


Like people living close to the land never noticed that when you plant a seed, it grows new plants. Like that's all agriculture is. Like we can talk about agronomy, we can talk about nutrient density and richness and foods and nematodes and everything else. But the agricultural revolution that we perceive to have taken place 10,000 years ago is really just evolution on humankind taking a seed and planting it and then staying there for long enough to harvest it. And so it's planting for a harvest.


And so for us to believe that occurred only 10,000 years ago for the first time in the human experiment of hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we have to one, necessarily adopt the settler colonial mine as the assumption, right? We have to view it from that perspective because people 100,000 years ago couldn't have been intelligent enough to understand that when the plants produce seed, it's for new plants because that's all agriculture is to some degree. But we have to also perceive the story of the human experience as completely linear.


That is to say progressive. Viewed from this, right, there's all sorts of conversations we can have. But I also think viewed from this, the same story of linear progress, we see our problems that exist today also as linear, right? We view our problems today as also as linear as in binary. That is, you know, we have good agriculture, we have bad agriculture. We also have...


Daniel Griffith (01:03:10.861)

We also have controlled life, that is to say, you know, the modern life, the capitalistic life, and then we have the natural life. And that in order for one to truly exist, we have to completely destroy the other or, you know, however you want to view that and whatever. My point is here is to really get at like


Daniel Griffith (01:03:34.533)

Death is, how do you say, the death process that's akin to life seems to be needed for modern systems where we perceive safety to be our surviving mechanism. Instead of stepping out and really, as one writer has said, living in the hands of the gods, like you were saying, you know, agronomy, agriculture, worship, you know, that's all one way.


in that culture, which I think is really awesome. But letting that idea die to some degree is an agricultural process. Not in the sense of agriculture being the preliminary moment to civilization, but agriculture in the sense that when you plant, that seed has to go through a death process. Like you said last episode, germination sometimes requires darkness.


that death process is that darkness and agriculture if anything is the facilitator of that process on purpose.


And if agriculture is the facilitator of that process on purpose, I think the question for us is what in the modern world do we need to facilitate into this death process so that when it is birthed anew as an open pollinated grain, right, for the peasant baker of Lithuania, what does that really, you know, what could that look like if we were to facilitate this process and facilitate it well? Not from a view of a settler colonial.


not from the view of a linear progressive, you know, modern capitalist, but from a member of earth, right? A mammal, the human species.


Rupert (01:05:19.146)

Yeah, I'm currently studying a fellowship with a great organization called N-Rhythm, who I found out about through Trey Crate because you interviewed him, and I'm now doing a fellowship with them, so thank you Daniel for that. And we're studying regenerative design for organizations. And one thing Trey was saying, if I understand it correctly,


Rupert (01:05:50.43)

these systems of control and hierarchy actively degenerate. Whereas for regeneration, we need to allow for emergence.


Rupert (01:06:05.526)

and there's that saying, I've forgotten it now, they tried to squash us but we was but then didn't realize we were seeds or something like that you know so we're you know we're there's could you call that the edge effect where we have this polarity and on that edge of that polarity lies the greatest you know


Daniel Griffith (01:06:19.718)



Rupert (01:06:33.526)

that limitations are the most creative forces. And so as soon as we think that, you know, you've got to exit one thing and enter another way, everything's fine. That's not how life works, I don't think. And emergence comes through, you know, certain degree of stress, challenge, as I said in the story, you know, the start of this conversation. So rather than saying, rather than asking,


what do we have to do? I think we ask what are the qualities we need to observe in our experience that allows something to emerge? As soon as we ask what do we have to do we start to debate one answer after another but we only have time to debate two or three or four depending on how long we've got how many people we've got in the room we only have time to debate so many modalities but there's infinite amounts of modalities.


Daniel Griffith (01:07:34.408)

Yeah, that's really good. The question again is what do we have to... What was the word you used? What do we have to allow?


Rupert (01:07:46.574)

The emergence? Was that the word?


Daniel Griffith (01:07:48.085)

Yeah, well, what do we have to, how do we have to position ourselves so that emergence can occur? Right? Because there's still a question, you know, as I understand it.


Rupert (01:07:56.406)

Yes. Yeah.


Rupert (01:08:02.158)

It goes back to relationship, it goes back to...


Rupert (01:08:09.75)

Yeah, it's a great question. It's a great question. It goes back to you. Yeah, go on.


Daniel Griffith (01:08:13.157)

Well, it's like what you're getting at is the tension that we spoke about earlier. You know, it's even the tension that I really wanted to.


Rupert (01:08:21.369)



Daniel Griffith (01:08:26.649)

really unpack in this conversation, which is the tension, you know, between how we perceive grain production, monocrop agriculture, you know, in its conventional way, that tension with what you're describing as the peasant baker, right? This in-place grounded human, one mammal amongst many, working and co-creating and instilling life in such a way that it is still harvestable but not controllable.


still nourishing, but not destroying to its environment. And so there's that tension there. And it's a perceived tension. It doesn't obviously really exist. It's a tension of the mind versus the actual realities of our soul and in our earthly bodies, if you will. But I mean, that's to some degree what I'm getting at from here too. And we ask, you know, what do we have to do? We're still allowing the language of industrial complexes, capitalism, of settler colonialism, whatever you wanna call it.


to live through our language. What do we have to do? What do we have to plant? What weeds do we have to kill? How many acres do we need to plant with all of these? It's still a work of clod busting and control. Whereas when you're thinking about emergence, as you're saying, I love in rhythm, Trey or Jeff, I love when they talk about letting ideas die. The mineral cycling that we see in the natural world has a parallel.


Rupert (01:09:47.948)



Daniel Griffith (01:09:51.469)

you know, a simultaneously living reality in organizations and communities and families in the sense that just like grass dies, becomes, you know, litter on top of the soil, early stage humus, it breaks down into stable soil, organic matter, et cetera. Ideas also have to undergo that process. Like probably five years ago now, I was with Jeff down in Georgia, Jeff Su, one of the in rhythm folks, and he held up a BlackBerry, I'll never forget. He held up a BlackBerry device and he said...


Rupert (01:10:07.179)



Daniel Griffith (01:10:20.341)

Why isn't this what everybody is holding? And then he had a Motorola phone, which is in this side of the world, which is like the original cellular phone. And both of these devices, Blackberry and Motorola, as companies, as physical realities of technology in the consumer's hand, they don't exist anymore. They're unheard of. I mean, maybe you can find them if you really look, but they don't exist in any sort of modern way. And then he went into this whole illustration on how both of these companies couldn't let the idea die.


that every idea, no matter how good, no matter how paradigm shattering, no matter how world-building it is, has to go through a death process. And so when you're looking at it from that view, what I'm getting from you is that the tension that exists between how we could go grain and how you do go grain, or how you could, in my sense, raise animals versus how you could let that raising go and rewild with them and run with them, exists simultaneously.


and all of our human decisions in the modern world in the sense that instead of looking at things to do and questioning their debating modalities, like you said, what if we opened up the conversation to let nature speak, emergence in, and then followed it? Let's tie up our shoes and get ready to follow with emergence instead of tying up our boots to ready go log that forest. We're still putting on shoes. And I think that's the huge misnomer today.


I think people, when they listen to podcasts like this, or they read books that talk about such things, or they watch documentaries, et cetera, they think that we need to get rid of our boots. We need to stop living at all. We need to take humans off the landscape, whatever it is, conservation or rewilding landscapes all across the country, especially the world. I mean, we can even extend it to that. They're all about taking off your boots, doing less, putting up a large game fence and just letting nature be. But really, as I see it...


What you're questioning is it's not necessarily the removal of the boots, right? We're still going to be, but it's just, do we focus on doing, or do we focus on following emergence and living in a world where emergence can yet speak?


Rupert (01:12:33.258)

Yeah, so, so difficult to answer what you describe in any kind of quick answer, Dana, but it goes back to relationship, it goes back to being a witness and being aware of what's in our environment. And when we talk about people wanting to have the map to get to a destination, that we have a willingness to encounter.


unknown. I always describe when people talk about Lithuania, I describe it as a place where you don't have the physical comforts around you that we'd easily obtain in the UK. But that throws you into a place of finding your inner comforts. And the experience for me has been, especially the first few years of coming here, that


that the lack of distractions and things without enabled me to go within. And that creates meaning and it creates a relationship.


Rupert (01:13:52.038)

A simple answer for me would be let's, in our inquiry into that question, encounter the experience of finding our own meaning in it. That often inquires a death process, as you say, to allow an idea to die and something else to be reborn from that. There's the new seed within ourselves that can grow into something new, but is no longer...


what it was the previous season. So coming into community in that process is the thing which coming into relationship with each other and with the divine.


Rupert (01:14:41.994)

with nature, what enables that transformation in a greater sense almost.


and being alone in our inquiry, in that place where we might not really think that there's anything else that's living that we cannot see is for me a tragic way of being in the world and a deeply saddened one and that this the prevailing system that we live in and we hear with farmers all the time the suicide rate with farmers that through this mechanisation there's no one on the farm anymore.


and the suicide rate has gone through the roof.


Rupert (01:15:30.614)

Yeah, we think about the experience of those people producing food for us to eat, that they would go through that.


Rupert (01:15:41.598)

Maybe sometimes because they can't fill the forms in. That doesn't mean they're not good farmers.


Daniel Griffith (01:15:51.867)

Right. Yeah. Yeah, the world is, well, I just, my mind just keeps going back to this idea of the binary. You know, we're, we're so often forced in, in front of that narrative.


this binary system truly exists, that there is left and right and good and bad and in terms of farming and the different modalities and everything else. And I think we get so lost in those questions, in those rooms talking about the modalities, as you were just getting into, that we forget, right? That the deeper questions really also still exist, which is not whether or not to lace up your boots, but who to follow. Follow the workhorse.


where you're just plotting and in clod busting and trying to get things done. You know, instead of what you're saying, right, is finding that peace, finding those inner moments, finding the darkness, finding that womb in which you can sprout, you know, renewed with new ideas and new bodies and new souls and, you know, prepare yourself like a seed, like a vegetative perennial doesn't matter, you know, for the new season up ahead. You know, for some open pollinating action and Rupert's fields.


I so want to visit. I want to see these flowers that you talk about, because I've never seen flowers on wheat. I've never really been able to look, I realize now. But you're going to have to show me. Because that to me is hope. You know, when I'm thinking about it, and what does hope really mean? I don't know. It's way, way bigger in a conversation we can have here. But like, open pollination to me is this idea that hope can still imbue a very emergent, open creative process.


Rupert (01:17:15.755)



Daniel Griffith (01:17:38.189)

you know, without technology, without AI, without overt control, without any of these reductionistic type frameworks that are not negative in themselves, like, you know, bushels per acre, or what have you, you know, actual harvestable volume, but are virtue in and of their own way, like the 8% that maybe are open pollinated in the field, like, why, right? Why there? Like what is there that is allowing that open pollination to occur?


Is it an individual's actions? Is it an opportunity that two individuals, you know, plants decided to, to attempt, et cetera, like that, that is where that quietness can potentially lead. And it does have very physical results, right? It's, it, it's a grain variety that is still open pollinated, but inhabiting its landscape and adapting to it. You know, all the way to you, you know, as a, as a, you know, seed in your own way, moving to a Lithuania with your family and emerging out of the darkness of the winter season, you know, as people anew in the truest sense.


Rupert (01:18:38.09)

Yeah, there's a few things which come to the stories which come to mind from my one of my dear friends, Nicola Supio, who's a peasant baker in Brittany.


Rupert (01:18:52.306)

We talk often about, as bakers, that we are in the process of making the bread, we're also in relationship with the process of growing the wheat. It's transformative. The seed goes into the ground into darkness, the bread goes into the womb and the darkness of the oven before it becomes bread. The dough goes in and becomes bread. And Nicolo spoke to me once about, well, there's two things.


I remember once I asked him, one of the first times I went there, I said, who taught you how to bake? And he looked up and he said, the flower.


Rupert (01:19:32.99)

And then he also tells me a story of when he's making the dough in the bakery and the wheat is flowering in the field at that time, how the dough, the quality, the behavior of the dough is different to when the wheat has been harvested from the field and not yet planted. And he describes this feeling within himself and then the relationship with the dough that probably not many of us would be able to discern.


the dough is kind of wondering where the wheat is because it's not in the field. But when it's flouring it's you know it's really active as well and so obviously that's related to the season as well and so again the relationship there is not in when he's in the bakery he's not physically in the field but spatially he's in the field he's thinking of the crop.


When I'm making bread in the bakery, the bakery is a spiritual place. So, you know, we leave our other stuff at the door and we come in and we enter a space of.


of intention and receptivity and of giving, giving our energy and our time to making food for people. And the prayer that I always say when I make the bread is that I pray for the bread to be truly nourishing in all ways to the people who eat it, not just physically. And I remember another story from a Ukrainian


lady who told me that there's an old tradition there that if a baby is born prematurely they would cover the baby in rye dough and leave the nose hole open and then put the baby in a warm oven, in the darkness, in the warm oven and then it would re-enter the world from the oven.


Rupert (01:21:41.326)

This is like an incubator. And so, you know, we talk about these things poetically, but that is, that is just something that used to happen in Ukraine. That's the relationship that people have with these things. You know, that is so far, isn't it, from, well, I've got to sell 300 loaves a week, otherwise I won't make enough money. But we have to exist in that too, don't we?


And if there's anyone listening who...


wants to go on that journey then all I would say is don't be afraid of or be afraid or be intimate with the fear of the unknowing of where that journey is going to lead you because it's going to lead you somewhere and um


Rupert (01:22:38.41)

And we don't even know what's going to happen tomorrow, do we? Those of us who think that we know what is going to happen tomorrow.


Yeah, can be so often disappointed.


Daniel Griffith (01:22:51.681)

Right. Well, Rupert, I really thank you. I think that was a fine storied ending. I think both of those stories speak of what we've been trying to say better than at least I've been trying to say it. So I think it's proper. We'll leave it at that. Thank you again for being here. I think these conversations, it's so interesting. You know, we live at...


what many perceive to be at the end of the world as we know it, or maybe it's the world, or however you want to phrase it. So many different perspectives and paradigms. And talking to someone like you, who is both experimentally grounded, but also a philosopher, a storyteller, a poet, et cetera. It's grounding in its own way, which I think is...


needed. It's interesting. You know, we're all floating in this terrestrial space, you know, trying to get grounded and everything else. And we're trying to find opportunities and ways and pathways to exist. And, you know, simultaneous to this, there's these little inklings, these little voices coming from the periphery, because we've pushed them there, I think. You know, saying, slow down, you know, listen, breathe, dream. And while they perceive


while we perceive them to not be entirely grounding in the moment. I think what I'm getting from you is that as we lean into them, as we listen, I don't know, we find a whole new sense of what it means to be grounded.


Daniel Griffith (01:24:29.137)

So, well thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing with us.


Rupert (01:24:33.506)

Thank you, Glenn. Yeah, thank you. It's been, again, deeply nourishing conversation. So I hope that's also the sense that people hear when they listen. Thank you.


Daniel Griffith (01:24:48.078)

Yes. We'll do it again. Thank you.

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