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edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015

www.ediblemontereybay.com 31 KEN KIMES: New Natives Farm For nearly 40 years Ken Kimes and Sandra Ward’s New Natives has been always new—each crop of organic sprouts takes a mere 10 days to grow. Walking into the wheatgrass greenhouse at their Corralitos farm, one enters a moist, tropical, and oh, so green world. Ken and Sandra also grow alfalfa, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, broccoli and beans. Enter the greenhouse where the arugula is being harvested and it’s like walking into an Italian kitchen. When I come to this farm to talk about hands, it’s an entirely different story. A few years ago, at just the wrong moment, Ken reached into a seed conveyer while it was running, in order to pull something out. His arm got caught in the machine. That momentary action changed Ken’s life forever. He lost his arm. Ken says, “Four seconds. Why that four seconds? Experience told me I could reach into the machine and do this. But I made a mistake.” It gets quiet, but that quiet isn’t calm at all. “Farmers work around dangerous equipment all the time,” Ken adds. After a walk around the farm, we settle into Ken and Sandra’s small office; the cool spring morning rushes in. Ken says, “I took one look at my arm after the accident and decided I didn’t want to look at it again. Before this, I didn’t understand what trauma means. Trauma actually changes how the brain functions, causing the fight-or-flight mode to come to the fore. “Not having two hands and trying to farm,” Ken begins, pauses, looking for the next words. “The best I can say is it takes a lot longer and it tries my patience. I still do most of what I did before—plumbing, electrical, whatever needs doing, but even after nearly four years, I still have to adapt to a beginner’s mind. “The community support was incredible. Even while I was still out of it, fundraisers were being organized. People brought food. I figured if the community was going to support me like that, I’d better stick around.” Ken holds up his one big hand. “Losing my hand was like losing a steady, trusted friend who was always there and never complained. I cannot believe I was ever unhappy in my life when I had two hands.” Monterey artist and writer Patrice Vecchione’s latest book, Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life, was recently published by Simon & Schuster/Beyond Words. For her upcoming events, go to www.patricevecchione.com. Clockwise from center above, Lynne Bottazzo, Ronald Donkervoort, Tom Coke, Maria Luz Reyes and Ken Kimes.


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2015
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