Thursday, October 2, 2008

Harvest Festival #3: Community Supported Agriculture


Even as the summer harvest peaks, with sunflowers and peppers and a rich variety of other vegetables, it's time for farmers to plan ahead. A winter produce CSA farm, Mendocino Organics, is accepting subscribers to its winter season produce harvests. I explained more about the concept of Community Supported Agriculture in an earlier post, linked here, and here, and even here, about my summer season membership in Live Power Farm. Most of California is fortunate to have a climate suitable for growing so much food for so much of the year, but anywhere you have farming, people can come together with a farmer, and ask to support his or her growing of an array of vegetables and fruit as dividends for the supporters throughout the growing season.

18 comments:

jill said...

It is a blessing to live with where there is a very long growing season and to be able to benefit from the harvest and support the local growers. Such a lovely photo with the red and yellow.

Laurie said...

Elaine, I LOVE this still life.

My hubby and I want to subscribe to this local farm. I am looking forward to taking our daughter to one of the open house days on the farm and seeing it for ourselves.

We're so lucky to live where this kind of thing is not only possible but affordable.

Bibi said...

Lovely still life. I adore sunflowers. They're all past their prime here now.

Marylène said...

I am not sure I fully understood your post but if I did, there is in France a growing number of farmers associations where you can register.
Then you get every week, or every other week, a basket of season fruits, vegetable and sometimes meat, honey, cider.... The price is not so different of what you could get in dopartment stores (grande distribution) but the quality......
You can choose either to have the surprise of the content or to "order" among what's available.

Sadly it takes place mostly in the little cities of the provinces, nothing equivalent around Paris or at the VERY different price.

Z said...

Great idea! Similar projects exist in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In the German speaking areas, I know of only one in Basel. I suppose where I live, in the midst of farms, I actually have direct access to the producers and if only I spoke the language better...

Halcyon said...

I would like to join a co-op farm, but I could not find any in my area. A friend of mine in Paris and I joined one summer. We split each week's goodies between the two of us. It certainly got me to try some new things!

Dina said...

Nice picture and reporting.
As a volunteer at Heifer Ranch, Arkansas (Heifer International), I sometimes helped the garden vols pick, wash, and pack the CSA orders. So I saw the other side of it.
It's good for non-farm people to get connected to the land this way.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Excellent painting...

er, I mean, photograph!!

We also have a Farmers Market in Fort Bragg and...

The Noyo Food Forest.

Jackie said...

Sounds like a great scheme. And I love the picture - the sunflowers are just beautiful.

USelaine said...

Jill - We are lucky here. My summer season CSA farm is up in Round Valley, where the winter temperatures are colder than Willits, and winter season shares are not practical to produce. The new CSA forming for winter shares is down in Redwood Valley, where the lower elevation should be just enough warmer to allow for good harvests. They will likely use heat trapping covers for many of the rows.

Laurie - It takes you back to the era of our grandparents, where nothing was shipped in from the southern hemisphere, and you ate what the local season gave you. If everybody supported a farm, the farmers wouldn't need bank loans to do the job, and pray that commodities speculators don't bankrupt them. It encourages home-style food preservation skills too. Got pickles?

Bibi - They are pretty much done here now too. I couldn't resist the shot of sunlight.

Marylène - I think it is the same thing. The information I looked at said there are more of these kinds of farms in Europe than in the US. My farm only offers the "surprise".

Z - Maybe you can make arrangements with a friendly farmer. 8^)

Halcyon - In the past two years, I've gotten used to eating greens that I don't know the names of. I've been able to figure everything else out. I still think you could gather interested neighbors and find a farmer to grow food for you. But that would initially take more time than just joining an existing one.

Dina - And from what I have seen, I think the farmers get even more satisfaction from their work when they know the people eating their food! Live Power Farm is biodynamic in its methods, which goes even further than "organic" to recycle nutrients right on the farm, treating the land, plants, and animals as a living whole organism, and for me that feeds the soul too.

Ron - Thank you! I've learned to look for angled sunlight the more pictures I take. This was handed to me by fate. I hope people will link through your profile to visit your Fort Bragg blog. I envy your nearness to the ocean here in Mendocino county.

Jackie - Thank you too! I just finished eating my yellow-fleshed watermelon, and I have my eye on the eggplant, onions, and peppers for a skillet 'schmoo' of some sort for a late supper.

Thank you everyone. Hope I didn't get too "long-winded", but I feel very positive about the need for grassroots action to create better food security everywhere. CSAs are one big way to do that.

Meead S. said...

Hi Elain. How are you doing my aunt? It's actually a pride for me to have you as my aunt. Thank you.

Yes, I've found so many friends here but our relationships are only limited to saying warm hellos, not hanging out and spending much time; maybe once a week only. Having several friends make me not to feel lonely.

I cook. I've had only one meal out since I came here. I like cooking. I often cook mixtures of vegetables, chicken or beef; sometimes with rice but often with bread. I know that the more I care of food and exercise, the more healthy I would be. It would be awful if I get sick here. Where is my mom to cook me soup if i get sick? ;)

Anyway, thank so much my lovely aunt.

Petrea said...

I love this photo. It calms me.

You must be proud to have Meead as your nephew!

I was just at the South Pasadena farmer's market, looking for Laurie.

Dina said...

Yes , you're right (in the comment)--there is a lot to the word community in CSAs. Biodynamics, cool. Do they plant according to the moon phases?

Kris said...

A novel concept. I like the notion that a farmer doesn't have to bear all of the risk with a 'boutique' product, because consumers have a prior interest in it.

It could be applied elsewhere, I'd imagine.

USelaine said...

Meead - Thank you. I'm so pleased to hear that you can cook for yourself, and that you enjoy it too! As you explained, it is the healthiest way. It's true, you must never get sick. I'm sure the university has a health center, but I hope you never need it.

Petrea - Thank you. And I'm as proud as can be! Did you ever find Laurie?

Dina - I think they do pay attention to moon phases, and they integrate waste from a variety of livestock back into the soil. The animals are almost complete fed from grass and grains raised on the land. Of about 30 acres, only two or three are used for the actual vegetable rows. The rest is for raising food for the plow-horses, and some beef and dairy cattle, pigs, and sheep. They also have a small orchard, and ten percent of the land is left as natural habitat. It all is done in balance, in cycles.

Kris - It's a different way of looking at food that takes it out of the industrial farming competition. If you want to learn more, they have information on the economics at their website, linked both in my caption as well as on the blogroll. They have been doing this for more than twenty years.

Saretta said...

What a lovely concept! And a lovely photo! Unfortunately, we don't have a system like that where I live.

Petrea said...

I didn't find Laurie. I found organic fruits and vegetables, handmade bread and a "No on Proposition 8" sign for my lawn.

Mary Jo said...

I love your picture.