Thursday, May 17, 2007

Changes(word up 2Pac)

Well as we learned from our good pal we need to start making changes! That's just the way it is, things will never be the same. Here on the farm Luke has morphed out of his hibernation cocoon into a farmer, Mike is up early every morning, Brad is back and I felt the spring shift from idle, cold, quiet to movement, sunny warmth and an overwhelming sense of already being behind on farm work! Oh the beauty of spring.

While Brad was away Luke, Mike and I were all assigned to different tasks. Well really we voted for our favourite ones and then wrestled anyone who wanted the same ones. Lucky everyone was pretty balanced. Mike ended up with items such as watering, planting, tilling, weeding, etc. Luke got winter gardening, season extension, composting, harvest, etc and I got market, seed saving, CSA, fruit, etc. When Brad got here we figured he was a baking, computer maintenance, website, and all around farm help kind of guy! So far it has been working pretty well.

We are starting out a new endeavour this season with our CSA. There will be a webpage on our website about it soon but I'll tell you a smidgen about it here.

The basic concept is a bunch of people get together, the farm figures out the cost of their food, they divide that amount up between all the people who got together. All the people(aka members) pay the allotted amount at the beginning of the season so the farmer doesn't have to worry about making money during the growing season. In return the members get a box of fresh produce each week. Depending on the set up of the CSA the members will likely have a say in what gets grown and what happens on the farm. Many farms will have work days throughout the season to get the members out in the field and to relieve the work load a bit. Mostly I think it is to get people closer to their food!

We are doing a small test run this year with 10 full shares. Many people asked for 1/2 shares so we ended up with about 18 families! Last Saturday we invited everybody out to the farm to see what we are doing. It was great to meet everyone and see so many excited faces.

This model is relatively new. It began in Japan in '65 and made it to North America some time in the 70's I believe. Since then it has been growing. It is a very basic model so it can be molded and shaped to fit each farm quite a bit. I think we will see this method sprouting up more and more around the world as more and more people learn and recognize what is happening to our food in the conventional growth system.

When I say conventional I am not talking about conventional versus organic. I am speaking to the large scale, far removed mono cultures that many people believe to be more economic. With the move to globalized organics I think you will see a lot of organic large scale, far removed monoculture that will certify under the national standards.

This is part of why I love the CSA model. The certification of this system lies in the members themselves. There is no third party who gives us a sticker we can put on our produce saying it's safe to eat. Everyone who is eating the food can be out here observing the growing methods themselves.

Another part of why I love it, is that the money that these members give ends up mostly back into their local economy again, instead of travelling to wherever it would otherwise. Most of us understand that rural living is fading out of fashion very very quickly and small local businesses are becoming a tourist attractions instead of a resource. However, there are still a lot of people who value rural living and want to keep the tradition alive. This is one part of the solution!

OK, so stepping off my soapbox I noticed that some of you are wondering, "so what's actually happening on the farm". Well Luke is learning how to program computers so he can make awesome games. Mike is the constant farmer. Sometimes we have to have interventions and make him play a game or two! Brad has been doing baking prep to get ready for Market which is only a few weeks away!!!! As for me I have been getting some practice in with massage and debating where to take a correspondence course in biology from.

Last weekend we started our first set of mushroom logs which is exciting. We inoculated them with spawn and then next year they will grow Shiitake mushrooms!! Yum Yum. It's pretty easy and if any of you want to try it check out this website

Well I think that's muchos nuchos,
Hope y'all are one with the changes that are happening in your life!
Love Katherine