There is a petition circulating to advocate for a progressive-minded Secretary of Agriculture appointment by Obama. It has all the big names behind it–Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Wes Jackso, Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, etc–and is very quickly making the rounds. If you haven’t yet, please visit the site, read the message, and sign the petition. Then forward it to as many people as you know who care about this issue. It’s very important for the future of food and agriculture in our country, not to mention health, climate change, energy, and so many more issues.
Obama will be making his pick very soon, so make your voice heard before it’s too late!
When you’re done, read today’s New York Times op-ed on the same topic by columnist Nicholas Kristof.
Our first winter produce pick-up day has come and gone without a hitch. We harvested at about 10 am (in contrast to 6 am market mornings), packed up the boxes midday, and distributed them 3-6pm. It was a great feeling to be harvesting produce specifically for individual people. We knew we needed about 42 napoli carrots, 21 yellowstone carrots, 12 chioggia beets, 9 forono beets, 70 chard stalks, etc. We took this list out to the field, harvested exactly what we needed, and at the end of the day we had no waste! What a contrast from the perpetual guessing game of the farmers market.
Here are a few pics of the produce that went into the boxes.
Napoli carrot bunches.
Napoli and yellowstone carrots–fat, skinny, long, stumpy.
Chioggia and forono beets. Can you tell which is which?
French breakfast radishes–so long and slender!
Our basement box station, where customers can collect their boxes.
Gleaners, by Francois Millet in 1857
What better time than Thanksgiving to think about how to share with people in need? In the farming world, this sharing often takes the form of the ancient tradition of gleaning. Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from a farmers field. The concept goes back a long way: apparently, ancient Jewish law required that farmers not reap their entire field so that some might be left for the poor (see #9 on this page, and #22 on this page)
Check out this recent article in the Press Democrat about gleaning in Sonoma County. It features Melita Love, who collects food for the food pantry at the Healdsburg farmers market and recently started a gleaning project to collect and distribute surplus bounty from farmers fields.
Other local organizations that promote gleaning are the Petaluma Bounty Hunters and the Willits Grateful Gleaners. According to the Society of St. Andrew–a national organization that delivers millions of pounds of gleaned food across the country– over 25 percent of food produced in the United States is wasted! If you have a home garden or backyard fruit trees that are producing way more than you can handle, think about getting in touch with one of the local gleaning groups so that all that great food can go to hungry, grateful bellies.