As students 11 to 15 years old witnessed a raid by armed men, the peaceful world of the Camino de Paz Montessori Farm School was invaded by the outside world. The students had completed their morning chores, milking goats, taking sheep to pasture, feeding chickens and draft horses. They had opened the greenhouses, watered, made cheese and canned tomatoes. They had their math, language arts and independent work time. Students had prepared a lunch for 25 people, and served it under a canopy adjoining the orchard and grazing sheep.
All were disturbed by the loud drone of an U. S. Army helicopter. An armed MASH-style military craft flying at 150 feet, blanketed our 10 acres.
Vehicles blocked off the school. An armed Drug Enforcement Agency officer with a bullet-proof vest announced they had a warrant to search the farm. We objected to the demonstration of force only to be questioned: “Are your kids afraid of law enforcement?”
The officers stated the focus of their search was our greenhouses. They were taken through each building and told the varieties of heritage tomatoes.
After the first raid, our students concluded that it was an important meeting with the outside world, a world of people living in isolation, without relationship or connection, a world that was driven by fear and greed.
In contrast, working together at the farm, the students produce all their own food or trade with local farmers. They slaughter their own poultry, goats and sheep, and prepare meals. Students use their weekly booth at the farmers market to convert their production to cash and buy necessities from local businesses, knowing the owner by name. They run a CSA (community supported agriculture) business that supplies more than 100 homes every Tuesday and Friday.
In understanding the raid, the students use their experience with the outside world. They know something of its false economy. Their entrepreneurial activity reveals that others have forgotten how to cook, eating processed “synthetic food,” and bend truth through ignorance and misrepresentation.