We’ve finished our second week of the CSA now. With luck, we’ll be going for another eight months.
Of course it might seem a little silly to crank up the CSA in March, when there’s nothing ready to eat other than asparagus. But our asparagus is so good it just seemed right to start early. And we’ve been able to supplement it with fresh eggs, sweet potatoes and garlic.
The most important test of whether it made sense, of course, is how the members have reacted. And they have loved it. Who wouldn’t want fresh asparagus straight from an organic garden in March?
It’s been a joy to get all the compliments and to know that we’re teaming with folks who care about and appreciate good food and good farming.
I hope that someday, when most people are CSA members, our original members will be able to say they’ve been part of a CSA for a long time.
The best looking lettuce we have on the farm wasn’t planted by us. When we were preparing to mulch around the house we discovered these two volunteers, thriving. Nature doesn’t have to guess about the perfect day to plant.
Two years ago we had a volunteer tomato plant emerge from the mulch next to our house. I think our chickens deposit the seeds they consume with our table scraps into the mulch when they’re scratching around in it. I staked the plant and we ate the tomatoes.
Last year I had tomatoes and pumpkins growing out of the compost pile. This year there kale and onions are coming up. But because we have to turn the pile and keep it hot, those won’t make it to our table.
A couple of years ago I found tomatoes growing at an old house on the farm that has been abandoned for at least 30 years.
It’s always interesting, and fun, to discover the volunteers.
By the way, Cherie and I ate the lettuce. It was great.
On Saturday April 14 Grace and Main Fellowship is throwing a party in a park in a blighted downtown neigborhood. We’re going to have hot dogs and ice cream, music and games. We’re going to give away stuff to folks who need it. We’re going to show love to a community that could use a good hug. We’re going to let a lot of children have a few hours of safe fun.
Well, we hope so at least.
It seems that before we can do any of that we need the government’s permission. There are lots of forms that must be filled out for lots of different departments and agencies. There are lots of rules that must be followed. So, for example, no inflatables for the kids. No amplified music.
Some bureaucrats have tried to steer us to other parks. (“Do you realize there are no shelters in that park?” “Do you realize there is police station there?” The unspoken “Do you realize that is a bad neighborhood?”).
Some look for our ulterior motive. (“So you’re calling this a celebration? What exactly are you celebrating?” “So the purpose of this is to get people to sign up for your organization?”)
Our friends who are trying to cut through the red tape just politely answer, insisting that all we’re trying to do is love our neighbors.
It all frustrates me, but I do see some poignant humor in it. There is a park in an urban community. We’re proposing that a hundred or so residents gather in the park on a spring day and have some fun. Imagine that. People in the community actually using the park in a way parks are intended to be used. What is the world coming to?
Hopefully the Man won’t nix our party. And hopefully in a few weeks, for a few hours at least, this park will be the kind of place all parks should be.
Genetically modified organisms. GMOs. Sounds like science fiction doesn’t it? Certainly doesn’t sound appetizing.
But the truth is that unless you grow your own food or eat exclusively organic food you are eating genetically modified foods almost daily. Over 90% of the soybeans produced in America are genetically modified (primarily to be resistant to herbicides, which they are doused in) as is nearly 90% of the corn, along with many other fruits and vegetables. Much of the milk produced in this country comes from cows which have been injected with a genetically modified hormone. Because most processed foods contain corn, soy, or both, conservative estimates are that 60% of the processed food eaten in this country contains genetically modified ingredients.
In many parts of the world GM crops are banned. In Europe and other parts of the world anything produced from genetically modified seed or containing genetically modified ingredients must be labelled.
In the U.S. there is no labelling requirement.
Whether or not GMOs pose a significant health risk to humans is a controversial subject. There is a large body of data now suggesting that they do and that evidence is persuasive enough to have caused the rest of the developed world to act. But GMOs have increased the profitability of American agribusiness, so here the consumer isn’t even permitted to know if the food he or she buys is genetically modified.
Whatever the consequences to our health, we do know that frankenfood designed to be resistant to herbicides has led to the development of “super weeds” that are herbicide resistant. Natural selection finds a way to overcome obstacles thrown in the path of living things.
I don’t think anyone can reasonably deny that we eat way too much processed food in this country. The fact that almost all of it is derived from genetically modified organisms is just another compelling reason to stop.
The best food is whole natural food, grown sustainably and chemical-free. It tastes better and is better for you.
I encourage everyone to find farmers in your community and partner with them to enjoy natural local food. And just say no to GMOs.
It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
It is, in every way, in the best interest of urban consumers to be surrounded by productive land, well farmed and well maintained by thriving farm families in thriving farm communities.
Please take a few minutes and watch this video. Consider the almost incomprehensible vastness of the universe.
Now consider the fact that 13.7 billion years ago, when this vast universe suddenly began to expand out into nothingness, all the matter and energy in the entire universe–the stuff that would become every galaxy, star, planet and person–was compressed into an almost impossibly tiny, virtually infinitely dense point about one billionth of the size of a proton.
Here is a less busy look at the Hubble Deep Field, offering a better chance to reflect on the immensity of the universe. Keep reminding yourself, those are galaxies, not stars.
Consider also that immediately following the so-called Big Bang all that existed in the universe was hydrogen and helium. Had the rate of expansion of the universe differed by a very tiny fraction then hydrogen and helium are all that ever would have existed. But within this almost inconceivably small window the universe was expanding just fast enough, and just slow enough, to permit matter to cluster into clouds, stars and galaxies.
Still, the conditions for formation of the elements essential to life as we know it (notably carbon) did not exist. Those elements could have formed nowhere other than within the nuclear furnaces inside the first generation of stars. There, under incredible heat and pressure, carbon formed and billions of years later was spewed out into space as those first stars died in supernovae. That carbon was ultimately captured by the gravity of stars such as our own sun, where it settled on planets forming in orbit around the stars. And that stardust becomes the instrument of life–of which we and all living things are made.
What an amazing (and patient) universe we have.