Us? we are doing all right. Fall officially begins tomorrow and you can see it already in the woods. The farm has welcomed a new worker, Dustin from Hurricane, into the fold and he has fit in quite nicely. Hopefully yaÂ’ll will get a chance to say hello to him at the CSA pickups. At the farm we are still trucking. The tomatoes seem to be holding out and this week we have had decent harvests. We have harvested the winter squash and the crop is pretty good. The green beans have begun to flower, and the last planting of zucchini and cukes look good. We will be harvesting Sweet Potatoes this week and yaÂ’ll should see them next week or the week after depending on temperatures. The fall greens are coming on and we are all excited by them. With the waning amount of light things begin to grow more slowly, and at the farm we have begun preparations for the next season already. We will be planting cover crops this week and a high tunnel will be installed next week, which will allow us to get a quicker start to next year and grow more weather resistant summer fruits.
Enjoy Farmer Sky
What Does it All Mean?
It can be hard sometimes to realize why small, local, farms are important for America. Grocery stores often provide us with more variety and often at lower prices. We can go there anytime that we want and pay by almost any means there is. Convenience is one of the biggest factors in their popularity and why ever bigger stores seem to be winning out even among the grocery store chains. They are supplied by vast networks of food deliveries, which are highly efficient in shipping vegetables from all parts of our globe to the nearest store. Our forefathers would be amazed by the apparent abundance that they hold, when their own diets were much more seasonally and locally based. This past way of eating was in many ways idyllic, but there were essential problems in our agrarian food system, which makes our modern food system so appealing.
Before WWII and the green revolution that followed (when modern agriculture exploded and the scene of rural America was drastically and permanently altered), many Americans suffered from malnutrition due to a lack of essential nutrients (which were not present in our soils) and calories (which could be limited by farming methods, environmental conditions, or effective storage). Today we have the opposite problem- rich foods- like meats and processed grains are too cheap, and our diet is killing us through cancer, heart disease, and diabetes among other ailments. Now most Americans have no idea what it is like to go to sleep hungry or to worry about where their next meal comes from.
Today Agriculture is the largest single source of carbon emissions producing over 30% of the worldÂ’s total, as well as using 30% of the worldÂ’s energy supplies to do this. It also is the #1 contributor to most every type of pollution including solid waste and water pollution. Worldwide 70% of fresh water is used for growing crops and in the US it is over 80% (with western states closer to 90%). On average our food takes over 1000 miles to get to our plate. Even with this great system to bring our food to our refrigerator one third of all food is wasted in the process. Agriculture is clearly a great force in our lives- probably the greatest- but most of us donÂ’t even think about in the life choices that we make.
What this system of efficiency and convenience has provided is with, the cheap fast food loaded with fat and sugar- with abundant supplies of meat, is part of the problem, but its deep and systemic and this is essentially where our new systems of local, sustainable agriculture come in.
If you buy local:
Your food travels about 50 miles (or even less!) to get to you, which means it takes approximately 95% less energy to transport than the average meal from the grocery store.
Most local organic farms, including Harmony Farm, use water conservation techniques that drastically reduce the amount of water we need to grow. We also use cover crops and other growing techniques, which actually sequester carbon, which makes farming a positive contributor to our struggle with climate change.
At Harmony Farm we also incorporate a great deal more natural soil amendments into our land than the average factory farm, which means that we are eating more of the good stuff. We also do not spray pesticides, which means you can be sure that there are no toxins on your foods.
Even with all of these positives of local, sustainable agriculture, our farms produce a very small amount of the food that America eats. The vast majority of food is produced by around 100,000 farms in America, which are massive in scale (and clearly massive in their impact upon our society). Most small farmers struggle to survive from year to year, and this has many causes, but one of the greatest is that producing food on a small scale, while it may be highly energy efficient, is economically inefficient, which means that either our food is expensive and/or we donÂ’t make much money producing it. Folks are working to change this from within, through the utilization of farmers markets, CSAs, food aggregation hubs, as well as farm hubs, but itÂ’s an upward battle against great forces, but the greatest force in producing change in our food system is not the government, nor big corporations, it is us- the eaters. When we choose what we eat we are voting with our dollars. Usually we vote for Big Ag, whether we mean to or not, and every one of these choices is a message and a means- either to maintain the status quo of a destructive food system or hopefully a vote for change.
Mesclun Salad Mix- Very tender mix of lettuces, arugula, and mustard greens.
Peppers- Mostly Red sweet peppers
Potatoes- Last of the season, red or gold