Monday, December 10, 2012

Facebook Fans

As of this morning, there are 400 people out in Facebook Land who have pushed the 'Like' section on our farm's page. We are surprised, honored, and thank them very much! I know the 2013 garlic marketing season seems like a long way off from now, but we hope most of them are local enough to shop with us, will introduce themselves next year at our market tables, and will also introduce themselves as one of our Facebook garlic fans. 

Here is another new bumper sticker I found myself thinking about during one of those 2 AM wide awake nights  - "Know your farmers and know your eaters." Creating a healthy community is a two-way street. There is much discussion and anguish over the fact that most people are disconnected from and do not appreciate the sources of their food as one reason for the development of the current agriculture and food system that is clearly unhealthy in more ways than I will elaborate on right now. 

However what most people do not appreciate is that the vast majority of farmers are also disconnected from their eaters. Most are selling the crops they raise as 'ingredients' (the corn, soy, wheat crops) or selling food to be eaten to the processors and/or wholesalers so that you can pick it up in a grocery store.  I learned a generic phrase for this type of growing and selling as "selling to the river" when reading Sandra Steingraber's book Living Downstream

Several people have asked me, either directly or indirectly, if my husband and I "have to be doing this". In each case, the situation has never been fully right to have a lengthy, in depth, and honest heart-felt discussion about "have to" versus "want to be doing this" (by which I am assuming these people were thinking about our taking on the hard work of starting a farm to sell commercially so late in life). 

Let me repeat a sentence I used earlier in this post: 

"Creating a healthy community is a two-way street."

And there is a lot of back and forth activity on that street that for us starts with how we care for our soil and ends with the enjoyment we get from handing off our garlic (and the Etc! on our Garlic, Garlic, Garlic, Etc! banner) to our customers, our eaters, our community. 

Let me repeat a word I just used:


Yes, enjoyment is what we feel and experience deeply when we meet our customers who are putting faith in our work and taking home the 'fruits of our farm', which is one more necessary step on that busy road of contributing to the creation of our healthy community. 

Who would have guessed? :) The deep enjoyment that comes from knowing we are doing our small part in our small part of the universe to create and nourish a healthy community (starting with our soil and the land's community) gives us deep purpose. 

We are not 'selling to the river' but to our own local community. People with faces, in fact, people with smiling faces! We like being being part of our community on this two-way street. Being fully there, in the fields, at the markets, even at the computer researching this or that, and then meeting you gives us happiness, which is the difference between "have to" and "want to". 

I don't really need to add, but I will, I am grateful beyond words for the health I currently have that allows me these many opportunities to both sink my roots into plus nourish my various communities. :)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - root by root, inch by inch, row by row :)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

PS - I changed the photo on my blog's header a few days ago. It's not a great photo, but it shows 24 of the 29 sandhill cranes that were flying over our farm last week, circling in the updraft that would get them to the air current they needed to start flying south. It's about time! The marshes are finally (beyond) ready to freeze, and we hope they will be snow-covered this year. Our land, our waters, and our various plant and animal communities need a return to cold, snowy winters for our land's health here in the Upper Midwest!

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