Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baby chicks and CSAs

Making pumpkin bread on a warm fall day. It's a wonderful thing. I appreciate the fresh, organic pumpkin, the free range eggs and the birds singing today.

A few days ago we drove up the the Springs to meet a lady to buy six Red Star chicks. I found her ad on Craigslist. I love Craigslist. Now the chicks are in my office with a heat lamp on them. They are about four weeks old. I didn't want to raise babies in the winter, but I want to be sure we have enough eggs in the spring and summer to add eggs to our CSA program when we start it.

Four week old Red Star chicks
When we were in the city, we ran our errands which included going by a couple of grocery stores we don't have in our little town, including a Mexican or Latino market, which had the greastest prices on produce and carried a few hard to find spices. But, in both of the food stores we went to, and the two we went to last week (all chain stores) I was disappointed by the unavailablity of organic foods, and the few items that one store carried were horribly expensive--four dollars plus change for an average sized zuchini. Crazy. And, me on my newest health kick to only buy organic, couldn't find any organic foods I could afford. I tried to go organic about twelve years ago and ran into the same problem. It seems time has not brought down the prices of organic produce.
Well. that realization really made me angry. I should be able to get organic food if that's what I want, right? I have the choice to not be poisoned by pesticide laden, hormone injected vegetables and meats, right? I should have access to these real, safe foods even if I don't have a large bank account, right? Food is a right, like air and water, right? Oh, that's right, not on this planet. We pay for water, while wasting access to millions of gallons of rainwater. We flush our drinking water down the toilet. Crazy. And food is only for those who can afford it, kind of like medical care. The more money you have, the better food or medical care you can get. I'm talking about organic food and natural healing hospitals here--I don't buy into and try not to support big agribusiness or big medical industry.

So how can I get food that is not going to give me cancer if it is not available? I can't afford mail order or even the organic food chains. How can I make a statement that I'm not going to support an agricultural industry that is more worried about profit than about peoples health, when the only places I can shop carry only the foods I wish to avoid. How can I feed my family? Where do we turn?

CSA memberships, that's where. And while I have been struggling with how expensive CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) are, and how we could make our farm CSA doable for more people, I realized that our membership at $325 per season (thirteen weeks) is pretty cheap for organic food, but even better, we are going beyond organic to naturally grown, here at our farm.  And one dozen free range eggs per week included. That breaks down to $25 per week or $3.25 per day for healthy, safe vegetables and eggs. Pretty cool really. And by growing our own food, we can say no to agribusiness and their poisons. We are taking back our food!

This is what tipped me into the home stretch of starting the CSA. We are going to do it. For the summer season of 2011 we will offer a very limited number of memberships into our farm. We are calling it the "One Little CSA" program and will sell five (5) farm shares to the first responders, taking a deposit to hold a spot. This will give us capital now to invest in more seeds, greenhouse and garden supplies. I'm excited. Richard is on board, and we look forward to the opportunity to grow real food for ourselves, sharing the bounty with others who want naturally and locally grown food.

I think everyone should join a local CSA program. Become part of the solution to the craziness of poisoned, unclean agribusiness food. If you can't afford to join a CSA, (like me) then grow your own food. Anyone can do it. I'd like to include some learning experiences here at our farm for those who want to learn how to start a backyard garden. Or a container garden. As Richard likes to say "If you only grow one tomato off of one plant, that's one tomato that's clean and healthy, one tomato you didn't have to buy from big agribusiness."

But if gardening is not for you, let the farmer down the road have a chance to grow your local food. Make sure it's organic. Some CSAs have working shares where you can buy a share at a reduced cost and work so many hours at the farm to make up the difference. I'm thinking about doing that too. I never seem to have enough time to water and weed the gardens...a little help would be nice. And with a CSA, it's kind of like your farm too. It feels good to participate in growing your own food.

"Be the change...."

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