This was the last field we cleared for Biofarm expansion, bringing their number of acres under cultivation up to about three. Lyle ordered a bulldozer for this job, and it was controversial on project. Farmer Doug doesn’t like heavy equipment because the compaction takes life out of the topsoil. The “no compaction” camp suggested we use goats. Prior to the clearing the space was filled with poison ivy, gum trees, honeysuckle and other species. Lyle saw it as an abandoned lot full of weeds. The biodiversity crowd saw it as wonderful habitat for birds and beneficial insects. In order to keep them happy, Lyle spared the cedar trees, and a sumach patch, a specimen walnut tree, and a honey locust. Everything else was flattened. Others complained that knocking down trees in the first place was a bad idea. Some argued that it was better to have food coming from the other side of the fence than from Argentina.
Since the space forms our western most border, the field became known as Arizona.
After the bulldozing was done, Lyle picked through the metal wires and piles of metal pipe, the forgotten telephone poles and electrical service boxes, sorted them out and sold them as scrap. In the process he reflected on the industrial debris which fills the woods all over Chatham County, and he wondered if the “don’t touch a tree” crowd knew where he might find some pristine nature and whether or not they had read Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature.
After the controversy died down, Arizona went on to become a marvelous producer of food.