News From the Farm | Week of June 24, 2013

My name is Hannah and I am a farmer’s daughter. I was born on Full Belly Farm, and I am the daughter of two of the partners, Dru Rivers and Paul Muller. I was raised eating fruits and vegetables fresh off the vine and running mud-footed through acres of my family’s backyard. This childhood was unbelievably picturesque, filled with tomato wars, warm days spent in the creek and cracking watermelons open in the field searching for the perfectly ripe ones before sitting down and digging my dirty hands into the red flesh to devour my prize. Living among the flowers and fruit trees gave me room to experience through trial and error and let my imagination grow strong and tall. These hands-on activities made me realize how important those tools are in the growth of our emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing. It became my dream a while back to share my connection to food and create a space that allowed for freedom of expression and imagination.

As I went away to college at the University of Oregon, I discovered my connection to Full Belly Farm deepening.  I started to see my life and childhood through the eyes of my peers and those who had never experienced what it was like to eat a peach off the tree or milk a cow by hand. I also began noticing the aspects of my life on the farm that intermingled with my major of sociology and my interest in nonviolent communication and mediation. The farmers that I knew, women with sun-kissed skin and muscled arms and men with scuffed beards and ripped jeans were examples of what it looks like to live and eat sustainably and act nonviolently.

Over the past four years, I have become involved with Play In The Wild!, a camp that focuses on the principles and practices of nonviolent communication and nonviolent action. I was drawn to the idea of empathy, intention and clear communication because of my childhood at Full Belly Farm and my love of sharing my experiences with others. Nonviolence starts from within. The very process of eating local produce or homegrown food is a nonviolent act. Each bite is a clear product of intention and community. The food that is grown at Full Belly is produced to support a clean mind and body for consumers and create a sustainable future for everyone.


The farmers that I know grow for love. As the poet and farmer Wendell Berry stated in Bringing it to the Table, “Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live.” The farmers at Full Belly Farm have a deep understanding of what it means to act nonviolently. This perception of nonviolence does not just embrace the members of the crew and their families, but the land that they tend as well.

Over the next year, Play In The Wild! will be hosting programs for youths and educators around the world that introduce the practices of nonviolence and create the room for growth, learning and experience. It is programs like these that allow me to share a taste of my childhood on Full Belly Farm, to share what it is like to grow up in a safe and beautiful place, and to help others feel the same level of love and respect that continues to surround me. 

To find out more information about Play in the Wild!, visit  We would be so happy to have you join us!

— Hannah Muller