Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not the fiscal cliff, but...

Let's think of CSA farming as a high-quality, cable TV show. Instead of 10 or 12 episodes, we have 20, with some bonus material for the diehards. Each week for 20 weeks we deliver an assortment of edible, delicious things that we personally grow in the soil. Our customers see the final product, but they don't really experience all that went into the making of each episode. They sign up for delicious veggies and the like. And presumably they want to be part of an operation that does its best to grow these things in a way that's also healthy for the land. So, it's not only the individual episodes that matter when it comes to CSA, it's also the big picture--how it all fits into a larger model of sustainable agriculture and good land stewardship.

Your veggies might be delicious, or beautiful, or big, but, in general, these things will not tell you what methods were used to grow them. Sure, holes in the produce are a sign that pesticides are not being used. But maybe only that one crop is pesticide free. Maybe your farmer is spraying everything else. Maybe your farmer doesn't use petrochemical pesticides, but he/she could be spraying a broad-spectrum "natural" insecticide like pyrethrum all over their fields, destroying countless beneficial insects in the process and ignoring the main problem--poor overall land health.

It's hard to care so much about one single thing, but food is of great importance to every living human on this planet. And how food is grown will have a big impact on the long-term health of our species and every other species we interact with--not to mention the long-term survivability of the land. If you're a CSA member, you care. If you're reading this, you might already be a diehard.

And we urge you all to be diehards--whether with us or any other farm. Sure, you can enjoy the end product just fine, and you can get a lot out of it, but to get the real story, to understand all that went into producing your food, to know where your veggies really come from, we hope you'll dig in to the bonus materials by visiting the farm, asking your farmer questions, and demanding that they stay true to their word if they promise to grow food in a certain way. The CSA model depends on community engagement with the farm. Us farmers need to be held accountable. If we aren't transparent and honest about how we're doing things, the whole thing will fall apart.

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