“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” - T. S. Eliot
May 1, 2014. With great sadness, Rebecca and I have recently learned of the passing of a former contributor to CUPS. On April 29, Nathan A. Winters suffered a fatal accident on his farm in New York. He leaves behind a wife, Eliza, a baby girl, and another child due in September. Nathan was 34.
Two funds have been set up for those wishing to help his family.
- Nathan Winters Memorial Fund at gofundme.com
- Winters’ Children’s Educational Fund, c/o Hill Hollow Farm, 350 Hill Hollow Road, Petersburgh, NY 12138.
This video below was used an an introduction to Nathan’s bicycle journey across the country to rediscover our food system, and his then upcoming posts chronicling some of those encounters:
I came to know Nathan Winters around January of 2011 when we began working together on a series of excerpts he was writing from his new book in progress: The Unconventional Harvest.
From the very first post, I became excited to receive his unique stories, and offer him feedback, and specific suggestions for publishing on CUPS. It was Nathan’s idea to follow the trajectory of his 4300 mile journey by bike in a series of individual stand alone chapters that became the basis of his posts.
From the start, it was obvious to me that he possessed the essential qualities of a great writer: a natural curiosity for the world around him, an almost fierce introspection in grappling with what he witnessed in other people, and an ability to capture a sense of that humanity in his work.
Here are a couple of brief excerpts from what ultimately became The Unconventional Harvest chapters he wrote for the site.
From: New Forest Farm
I was feeling torn and uncomfortable. On one hand, the information that I had been absorbing during my time at New Forest was invaluable. On the other, knowing that I knew so little about permaculture in comparison to Mark was testing the waters of my emotional comfort zone. Here I was – a touted “food hero on a bike” discovering and sharing information surrounding our nation’s farmers and food system. I had major press articles written about my journey and had thousands of people following me online. I had even started writing this book. Everywhere I had gone people were asking me to share my experiences and tell enlightening stories about what I had come to learn and know.
At New Forest Farm I was nothing special. At least that is how I felt. In fact, I was feeling as though I had little value to add to the conversation. Hell, I was raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; a state founded by famous Quaker, William Penn and had never even heard the Quaker hymn we all shared before dinner.
From Melstone, Montana—Population 136:
To my naked eye, Melstone, resembled a trailer park, slowly rotting into barren soils. Mobile homes were faded and stood cockeyed and ready to fall. Dilapidated wooden structures in which I couldn’t identify were abandoned and had been left to rot for what must have been decades. Finding a place to sleep felt nearly impossible and coming across a good food story was no longer on my radar. In eastern Montana, finding shelter was my only priority.
A handful of washed out pickup trucks with peppered tailgates were parked in a gravel parking lot outside the Melstone Café and Bar. I parked my bike against the side of the building. Thinking wisely, I knew that if I had planned on making it out of Melstone alive, I had better get dressed before I announced my presence. Something told me that the people inside the bar would not welcome a young man wearing nothing more than a Speedo and a suntan.
Nathan’s collection of photos from The Unconventional Harvest on Flickr.
The T.S. Eliott quote at the top was what Nathan fittingly signed off with on all his emails to me.
Funeral details from legacy.com:
“The funeral service will be Sunday at 1 pm at the Thomas M. Barber Funeral Home, 66 Armsby Road, Petersburgh. Interment will follow on the family cemetery at Hill Hollow Farm in Petersburgh. Relatives and friends are invited and may call at the funeral home on Saturday from 4-8 pm.”