‘Buy fresh buy local’. ‘Know your food, know your farmer’. And, by the way, ‘Who’s your farmer?’ These are just a few of the slogans aimed at consumers to raise awareness of the food system and their place within it. The conditions describing the state of farming in our country have been widely circulated: the average age of farmers has risen and the number of farms fallen dramatically. An enormous amount of power lies in the hands of relatively few entities in each sector of food production. Companies like Monsanto, Tyson and Cargill are becoming household names, thanks to a present awareness that has its roots decades back. People at large are becoming more concerned about what goes into their food and how it got there. They want to decide for themselves whether to feed lean finely textured beef (a.k.a.‘pink slime’) to schoolchildren, and in the state of California, residents will soon decide whether the public has a right to know if their food contains genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). These marketing campaigns reflect an understanding of the personal relationship of individual people with the food they consume. The power of influence lies on the plates of each household and in the folds of every pocketbook.
The motivation expressed by consumers to establish a personal relationship with their food source is what drives Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and the desire to create the opportunity for such relationships is, in part, what inspires the work at Groundworks Farm. The problems within our food system and the amount of work to be done are easily overwhelming, and it’s important to remember the values that initially inspired the work, now, going into our third growing season. It’s clear that in choosing to farm, choosing the farming lifestyle is the key element. Just as important as the economics of making farming as a livelihood work are the home economics of life on the farm. Thinning the beets in order to have a harvest, then harvesting a bumper crop to pickle them later. Watching the hogs till up the beds to glean any thing left behind and help us prepare the garden for next year’s planting. Being the master of one’s days and a student of all things wild and natural, from the flora and fauna that live within the garden to the hawks and coyotes that hover closely around it. Meeting with other local growers to start collecting and saving priceless seeds, knowledge to share with each other. Watching our baby boy eat veggie puree’ that was harvested when he was only days old and kept for months through the winter to wait for him to eat it.
“It’s a labor of love” is a phrase anyone visiting the farm is likely to hear. Because for all the other reasons why to grow good food for ourselves and our neighbors, who do it because it’s the work we want to do- the life we want to live.
See you at the farm stand.