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


At 5/17/2007 11:49:00 p.m., Blogger Anja Verdugo said...

Everything sounds awesome! I think it's so great that you guys are doing a CSA thing this year. We joined one and it starts in June, I can't wait! The farm we are buying from is called Winter Green Farm, here in Oregon.

And mushrooms?! So great.

At 5/18/2007 01:15:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

good to hear things are ramping up for the season!

it sure has been a spring of changes...i think i'm feeling pretty 'one with them' about it...i'm holding tight to the hope that a spring of crazy changes leads to a summer of peace and happiness!

lots of love to you all,

At 5/18/2007 10:17:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked out the website of the farm. It looks great and gave me some good ideas! Is this the first time you've joined one?

At 5/20/2007 06:08:00 p.m., Blogger Anja Verdugo said...

Katherine- yes, it is the first one! One thing I really like is that they give out newsletters with each box including recipes, info about the veggies (and a "star" vegetable each week with lots of info about it), updates on the farm and the people who are running it... it feels very personal and nice, and I think the recipes are a great idea for people who might be new to certain vegetables.

There is another farm in the area that offers free classes teaching CSA members to preserve/can their produce for winter months, which I think is pretty awesome.

At 5/23/2007 02:03:00 p.m., Blogger Holly said...

Glad to see that you guys are throwing your hat in for a second growing season! How exciting for the town to have you all there. I was just reminiscing about my summer in St. Andrews and the farmer's market, and know it would not have been the same without your stand, and of course frisbee! I've had fun catching up on all of your blogs. Thank you for being activists and taking care of Mama Earth for the many who don't. Miss you guys! --Holly

At 5/30/2007 03:16:00 p.m., Blogger Ben said...

I just got some goosebumps about coming to the farm Katherine! It all sounds so deeply good.
Speaking of local food, I'm reading an interesting book that Lisa & Aaron gave me, called "The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating". It's an autobiographical account of the authors' experiences eating only foods harvested from within a 100 mile radius of Vancouver, for one year. Perhaps I'll bring it with me to The BBF!
Deep Love, The BBM

At 6/25/2007 03:55:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay for CSAs and yay for Ben being on the farm. Things are sounding absolutely awesome friends. I can't wait to hear how the CSA turns out. We absolutely loved ours over the last two summers and it opened our eyes up to vegetables we didn't even know existed. We are on hiatus this year due to the July 1 move but apparently Squamish has a rock and roll farmer's market we can satisfy our home grown cravings with.

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