From Swords to Ploughshares

August 08, 2012

In 1991, shortly after the first invasion of Iraq, Edward Wazer enlisted with the Army National Guard. By 2003 he was at Pratt & Whitney working as an engineer on the F135 Joint Strike Fighter project.

Despite his military background and work on military projects Wazer, around this time, came to a point of departure. He disagreed with the increased power Congress granted President George W. Bush for his War on Terror and, after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Wazer informed his supervisors at Pratt he would no longer work on military programs.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Ed Wazer as an engineer with Pratt & Whitney. 2) In the Army National Guard. 3) Raluca Mocanu and Edward Wazer harvesting cabbage grown under a bug barrier on the Shundahai Farm; a Community Supported Agriculture farm growing food for over 50-people and their families.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Ed Wazer as an engineer with Pratt & Whitney. 2) In the Army National Guard. 3) Raluca Mocanu and Edward Wazer harvesting cabbage grown under a bug barrier on the Shundahai Farm; a Community Supported Agriculture farm growing food for over 50-people and their families.

Raluca Mocanu, Wazer’s wife, was also an engineer with Pratt during that period and she felt similarly, “The fact that my work was going on a jet plane that was going to bomb somebody and kill people,” Mocanu says, “I just didn’t like that.”

Top: Ed Wazer with daughters (L-R) Sena and Aiyana. Bottom: Shunning footware, Ed and Aiyana pick beans.

Top: Ed Wazer with daughters (L-R) Sena and Aiyana.
Bottom: Shunning footware, Ed and Aiyana pick beans.

“I knew,” said Wazer, “that I wanted to do something else. We spent a long time looking for farmland. I was quite determined. Even if it wasn’t possible to be a full-time job, I knew I wanted to be growing food.”

Top: Tools hang in Ed Wazer’s workshop. Bottom: Family shoes rest on broad floor boards while Ed and Raluca work outside.

Top: Tools hang in Ed Wazer’s workshop.
Bottom: Family shoes rest on broad floor boards while Ed and Raluca work outside.

After leaving Pratt & Whitney and buying a 5-acre homestead in Mansfield, Connecticut, Wazer and Mocanu in 2009 established Shundahai Farm; named after a Western Shoshone word for, “peace and harmony with all creation.”

Top: Ed and Raluca talk farm business while their daughter, Aiyana, listens. Bottom Left: Lunch hour. Bottom Right: Daytime reading.

Top: Ed and Raluca talk farm business while their daughter, Aiyana, listens.
Bottom Left: Lunch hour. Bottom Right: Daytime reading.

Ed and Raluca’s Community Supported Agriculture project now grows food for over 50 members and their families, “In a very direct way, we are supplying food to the community,” says Ed, “It’s one less worry people have when they’re concerned about calamity. If you know that food can be produced in your backyard then you feel much more comfortable.”

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“How do you find inner peace?” says Mocanu, “Everybody’s looking for it. We don’t know that we are, but we are. For me, this pursuit, being outside and having a relationship with the land is what’s giving me inner peace. Having a close relationship with my children, with Ed, with our community, that is what gives me peace and that’s what I hope to be able to give other people, as well.”

Top: Cabbage under a bug barrier. Bottom: (L-R) Shundahai Farm lettuce, beets, zucchini, strawberries.

Top: Cabbage under a bug barrier.
Bottom: (L-R) Shundahai Farm lettuce, beets, zucchini, strawberries.