Thursday, February 26, 2009

More than Farm to Table

My friends have an organic farm and CSA in Greenville, NH. They came up for a quick overnight visit--they arrived the afternoon of the big storm on Sunday. I was late to greet them, having spent the morning at Cardigan Mountain Art Gallery making Ukranian decorated and dyed eggs. When I arrived at the house, I saw that the counter was covered with gifts of vegetables from their farm--potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, a couple of gallons of cider, and apples that had been stored since the Fall. The abundance of the hard Summer and Fall work was such a pleasure in these waning Winter months. They had never visited D Acres before, and it was another pleasure for me to show them around, talk about our work here and the daily life of living in community with others.

The night before their visit, we hosted a special Soup Night. We invited area farmers for a potluck and a time to share about their plans for the coming season as well as brainstorm ideas about how D Acres can help facilitate a further movement toward food localization. This year will mark the 3rd Edition of the Pemi-Baker Local Food Guide. So again, we are connecting farmers and local businesses with the wider community by creating and distributing a readeable and helpful takeaway guide. It will tell you where to find the farmer, who to call, what kind of produce, meat, dairy, fiber or other goods they may specialize in. It was a small, but faithful turnout of folks at the potluck. I was excited to be facilitating such a gathered group. It was hard to hear of the struggles some small farms are having, and it only made me want to push this work even further. These farms and individuals may offer us such abundance--knowledge alongside a product. It is the most sensible and sustaining economic decision any one can make to purchase from, visit, and get to know your local farms and farmers.

Though this was a small gathering, I gained the sense that something amazing and revolutionary could take place in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. What an opportunity it was to talk with such hard working and dedicated individuals. Whether it was Beefalo, eggs, or a small plot of a cultivar of winter wheat that is hardy to New England climate, our talk went beyond each farm's specialization. I felt encouraged when everyone voiced a hope to meet more regularly. But even more, there was a longing for more organized connections between farmers, local services, and the wider community. People want to be able to support the knowledge of their neighbor, but oftentimes have not a clue that their neighbor could help or provide food for their family.

I feel my words are not strong enough to emphasize the welling feeling of the need for dramatic change and action on the part of small communities like Dorchester, Rumney, and Wentworth. There are leaders among us, and we simply must continue to stand up. To rise up against a monoculture that oppresses imaginations, creativity, and common sense.

I can become overwhelmed by the global and even national economic and societal unease and instability, or I can remember my friends who are working just as hard to create food localization and cultural revitalization in their own town. And then I can be firm in my hope that another small farm across the country is doing the same.

Create, Make, and Make it Happen. Call it Revolution or call it Radical--the simple acts of meeting your neighbor, telling a story, and working hard.

with warmth,

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