Monday, June 9, 2008


I had a quick discussion on the phone today with Jackie Miller Coldsmith, a farmer who owns De La Tierra Gardens and who is also the manager of the local farmer's market.  We are going to meet next week to brainstorm some sort of cooperative enterprise for local farms.   Small farms are by definition unable to compete with factory farm enterprises simply because they cant compete with the resources available to Big Ag.  But what we can do is organize and be innovative in how we market and how we allocate our own finances.  

Sharing labor, tools, implements and knowledge could be invaluable to a new or beginning farmer.  Creating a shared pool of resources available to neighbors and other farms might mean the difference between financial viability and financial stress.  Why cant we share tillers, plows, seeders or disks?  Most farms only use these implements once or twice in a season and then they sit, depreciating and rusting next to the barn.  If getting the hay cut and bailed before the next cold front moves through means ruining several thousands of dollars in stored forage, why shouldnt we have a resource to call upon for help?

Jackie has found that several customers have requested CSA shares in return for working several hours per week on her farm.  She has also seen people lacking the skills necessary to be successful at the farmers market.   Every merchant and farmer benefits from a large and vibrant and successful market.  There are plenty of people to feed in this world.  Nothing should have to go to waste.  A bountiful market should easily attract locals in search of value and healthy food.  

We both agree that having a resource for farmers could be a fantastic starting point for developing a local food movement.  Sustainable agriculture depends upon a community supporting the movement.  Building that community will be important if we want the local food movement to take root and grow.

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