We would love to thank our CSA members who have faithfully stood by us these last few years as we have dealt with having and raising small children, busy work schedules, deployments and droughts. We have given it our best shot with what little we have had of ourselves to give and still find great satisfaction in growing food. It is a noble endeavor I believe, something worth doing with your life.
I read this online this morning and sometimes words just strike me as true. I would love to give credit to whomever said it, but alas none was given.
“With farming the only argument you have is with the weather and, you know, nature and you can’t win so there’s no real point in arguing. It’s just the flow of the seasons and you take what’s coming.”
I have learned a few things over the course of growing food for people. I know now that very few really give thought to their food. They are so accustomed to grocery store perfection, food that just magically appears on the shelves no matter the season, the weather, the climate. Many people are not satisfied with what comes from a local farm. They don’t want to be limited in their vegetable choices, they want to have what they want when they want it and it should never have aphids or a worm hole or a little dirt. They don’t know what to do with beet greens or turnips and have certainly never seen a cardoon or a burr gherkin.
There are however some hardy souls who are truly game for anything, who take Jerusalem “fartichokes” in stride, who don’t give up after the first attempt at cooking something and eventually are won over to loving things like rhubarb, fennel and eggplant. These are the same people who truly believe that supporting small farms is important, that in order to make the world a better place they must put some trust in those of us willing to break our backs, wrinkle our skin and callous our hands for the sake of growing real food, old-fashioned food. The food that is getting swept away and forgotten in this age of industrial agriculture, monocropping and genetic engineering.
It’s easy to look the other way, to grab what you are comfortable cooking, to go for the shiny waxed apples and bleach dipped eggs. They are safe, they are familiar, and they look good. Or so we are told. Approximately 3,000 people across the country die every year from food-borne illnesses though and hundreds of thousands more are sickened. Millions of pounds of meat and produce are recalled regularly. You have no idea what has been spliced into the genes of your tomato and more and more farmers are wearing lab coats. I don’t feel good about this. I am no scientist, no genius, but I do spend a lot of time with my hands in the dirt. I hold thousands of tiny open-pollinated seeds in my hands and it scares me a little that I see them getting harder and harder to come by.
I grow food. It’s what I know how to do and what I am good at. It’s the one small way that I can feel I have a reason to be here, that I can leave a legacy worth leaving even if it’s a small one. Growing food the way I do can be monumentally heartbreaking. It is also life-giving. I can watch plants get battered by wind and dust and frost and all my plans and hard work ruined just like that. I can also see that a tiny dry seed with a little bit of water and a little bit of light can spring into being and grow and thrive and provide food for bees and birds and people alike. It is magical.
So take a minute to think about your food. Really think about it. If you want to plant a garden but don’t know where to start, call me. I want to see gardens everywhere. I want to see people planting fruiting trees and beets in their flower beds. My advise is always available for those who would use it to take control of their own food and are willing to learn. If you can’t or don’t want to grow a garden then really do consider making choices about where your food comes from. Find a small farm and give it your best go to eat what they produce.