Two great things have happened this week to make me a believer in the power of positive action. “Build it, and they will come…”
Has anyone heard of the book: “The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food,” by Ben Hewitt? It’s about the Northern Vermont town of Hardwick, and the story of how the local food movement, and several resident “agripreneurs” have changed the way their community prospers.
Based on the feedback we’ve been getting from our community, from new friends, old friends, and people we don’t know yet, but who are about to become friends…I’m starting to believe that Mehaffey Farm is on the way to not only becoming “The Farm That Food Saved,” but something even better that will give a lift to others in our community. Our little farm has been in this family since 1826. For too many years, as farming fell out of fashion, this family has agonized about how to keep this a farm and not sell the land to developers, as so many others have already had to do.
The stars are aligning, and showing us the way. Along comes a new generation, at the same time as there’s been a cosmic shift in public consciousness about buying local foods, and people’s real concerns about where and how our food gets grown. Suddenly, our family is clicking on all cylinders, and some amazing stuff is starting to unfold!
Here’s one example:
Yesterday, I walked into Institution for Savings, the local bank where I had just opened our business account, and Josh Tuff, the bank manager asked me into his office. Inexplicably, I got that dreadful feeling when the principal calls you in. “Uh oh, what did I do?” But this was good news. He said the bank wants to buy a share, and donate it to the Rowley Food Pantry! In fact, he’d already called the pantry and told them about it. How cool is that?
The donation idea got me to thinking…I’ve been getting feedback from folks, mostly couples, who would like to buy a share, but know they’ll be away for part of the summer, or who worry there are certain veggies they just don’t like. People don’t want to waste food and we don’t want to waste food either! Or they’re worried that we might make them try stuff they don’t really want to eat. (Don’t worry, I’m not your mother. I promise never to make you eat anything you don’t want to!!) But I, of course, like your mother, will make every effort to cajole you into trying new things by giving out delicious and interesting recipes… I do however, get it that there are just going to be some things people don’t want to eat. (Personally, I’ve only met one vegetable I don’t like. I tried fennel, I wanted to like it, but just can’t seem to aquire a taste! I’m open trying again. Recipes anyone?)
But I digress…One idea we’ve come up with is to put out a “trade table,” where people can deposit veggies they know they won’t eat. If it’s on the table, other shareholders can “trade” for it. Anything left on the trade table at the end of the day will be donated to a local food pantry. One couple who just bought a share from us was on the fence, but were happy to buy in after learning we would donate anything they don’t take.
Here’s another example:
We called T.W. Excavating (local Rowley guys, Dana and his sons, Jeremy, Jessie and Joe, and daughter Jamie) to ask them to deliver a couple of loads of compost in their big tri-axle dump. In our business plan, we’ve budgeted a certain amount for good, clean, organic compost, and we were prepared to pay the going rate. Jeremy called this morning to let us know that Brick Ends Farm in South Hamilton is currently giving away compost to local farms. All we have to do is pay the hourly trucking charge. This is a considerable savings over what we’d expected. As I write, they’re delivering several truckloads of the most beautiful compost I’ve ever seen. Brick Ends is a company that composts local food waste and turns into what farmers consider to be “black gold.” Check out this article http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/14705053/detail.html to learn more.
This is certainly turning out to be a great adventure. Stay posted.