On Wednesday, June 27th, between the hours of 4am and 5am, we lost our friend, our mentor and our inspiration, Clark Phillips. There is no question of filling his shoes–we can’t. They’re too big, too knowing and too meaningful. But we can continue his legacy. We will honour Clark by continuing his work at Whaelghinbran Farm.
We learned from Clark.
We learned that if you believe in something, you stand up for it. For Clark, everything was a protest. Farming was a protest. Cooking was a protest. Living a rich life with his lifelong partner, Susan Tyler was a protest for all that is good and meaningful. There is no one I respected more in this world and as hard as it is to lose him, we were able to make his dream a reality. When Clark left us he was worried about the farm, but he was not worried about succession. His last request was that we finish the second planting of potatoes.
We planted the potatoes. We’ve always wanted our work to count for something and on Wednesday, June 27th it did. It hurt but there was a hidden joy in knowing that we were continuing his belief. We were protesting on those fields for everything Clark believed in.
Somehow, on the farm, life and death makes sense. It seems natural on a landscape that will outlive us all. As the water and sun feed the plants, we care and toil in the earth. We are a temporary part of the landscape and we will work to make our time count. I will not last forever. Community Forests International will not last forever. But together we know that we can work towards something that is greater than ourselves, like Clark did. We can live our beliefs on the land and work with those we love and care for.
Clark, we will miss you.
A memorial service and visioning session for the future of Whaelghinbran Farm will be held on July 15th from 12:00 – 5:00 at Whaelghinbran Farm (2002 Cedar Camp Rd. South Branch, Kings Co., NB E4E 5E7). Please feel free to bring a dish as the event will be a pot luck. In lieu of sending flowers please consider making a contribution to Community Forests International. Contributions will also go to support the New Brunswick Community Land Trust.