This week marks our second to last delivery of summer shares, week 19 of our total of 20. It’s been a pretty solid, easy summer for growing, one where overall things in the garden have done well or pretty well, one without any major weather or other events, where we’ve harvested most of what we intended to without much loss.
It’s pretty much the best thing you can ask for as farmers especially farmers who pre-sell all of their harvest before most of it is even in the ground! Such a great season of harvests is very good for us farmers but, of course, it is also very important for you, the community of eaters for whom we grow. Because we grow most of our vegetables for members of our farm through Community Supported Agriculture, this link between the well-being of the farmers and that of our community is abundantly clear, which is a major reason why we grow in this way. In this model of growing food, both the farmer and the community accepts some of the risk inherent in agriculture and the community agrees, through their financial (and moral) support to commit to the farm’s sustainability. This in turn provides security for both in the form of a stable income for farmers and a safe, secure source of good food for their community.
We think a lot about our members at all points in the season, hoping to provide weekly shares that will fulfil your needs and wants and that will keep you coming back for more! But members should also be conscious of how much your financial commitment to the farm means to our ability to farm at all. Not only does your payment at the beginning of the season mean we have a known and stable income (and can therefore plan properly and pay everyone on the farm fairly), it is a moral safety net for the inherently risky and stressful work that is agriculture. Of our 215 shares (which represents, by the way, more than 500 people), three quarters are returning members, many of whom have been with us for more than 5 years (some more than 10!). This group of committed people become our friends and community who know the farm intimately and come to care deeply about our success. This elevates the transaction of money for food to a place that I believe is far more appropriate and more true – to a recognition of our mutual dependence and the importance of our mutual well-being.
In a hyper capitalist society, the true nature of relationship in our communities is very often consumed by the transactional relationship of monetary exchange. Profit is the goal and does not recognize the true nature of relationships inherent to life on earth – between human beings, between human beings and their environment, between human beings and our non-human relations. I’m sure I don’t have to describe here the havoc that that is wreaking on the planet and its communities.
So hopefully the CSA model, which seeks to unveil the inherent mutual dependence between food growers and their community, is succeeding in fortifying that relationship and in increasing the awareness of our community of your dependence on food growers (and gatherers). You can be sure that your farmers are very aware of you! And that we have abundant gratitude for your support.
The farm has had the incredible good fortune of attracting wonderful people to come farm here. Jess, Connor, Madeline and Ahren alongside Jeff and I (Leslie) have provided strength, humour, speed, dexterity, thoughtfulness and dedication to the farm and we have much gratitude for them. The farm is now in a place where we are thinking of ways to most equitably retain these good people and provide satisfying and sustainable careers for them. We’ll be doing research into co-ops this winter with an eye to hopefully expand the ownership model of the farm to be more equitable and more in line with our principles and beliefs.
All of us at the farm hope that you have enjoyed your veggies this summer (and spring) season and that we will see you back here next year (if not sooner throughout winter!). Watch out for a feedback survey that we hope to put out in the coming weeks to get some good info from you all towards making our shares even better next year. May the winter treat you kindly and many many thanks.