First, I am an eater. I consume food. Bet you do too.
Second, I became an educated consumer and so learned about some problems with food. I carefully select what food I chose to put into my mouth and body by knowing my farmer. I know how to cook and enjoy making new recipes.
Third, I share what I have learned. I try to provide information to you, other eaters of food, about the reasons you need to be more careful about the stuff you put in your mouth too. This concern is not because of dieting for weight loss. It is about choosing food more carefully to do what you can to control your health.
Fourth, the marketing effort is to primarily connect people who eat food with people who grow food. Each time I move I checked the state’s Department of Agriculture listing of pick-your-own farms but there is an easier way for you to discover where you can get local food. Go to Local Harvest and enter your zip code. You can then find farms, CSAs, farmers’ markets and more close to home. Very convenient. Some even deliver to your door!!!
Fifth, I helped get a local market established. The Wild Ramp Market in Huntington, West Virginia is a tremendous example of what people can do with passion. We discovered there were a huge number of local farmers, many living on only a few acres, who were growing enough food to share and sell to us. Meeting these farmers helped me understand the huge effort they make to produce the food we eat.
Finally, I am now a farm worker, helping a local organic farmer 4 days a week. After spending several weeks I honestly can attest to the work ethic of the farmer. While her husband helps on weekends, he has a job in Portland. Like most farm families, someone usually works off the farm to support the family. The effort to produce plant starts, put them into the ground, make sure they receive adequate water to grow, weed the gardens so there is room for the plants you want to mature, then harvest the products, and find customers who want to buy them is a lot of work. Very very full days.
So, I’ve come full circle, because those vegetables that are not perfect enough for the customers are in my kitchen, on my table and in my pantry for eating later when fresh produce is not available locally. I am a consumer, informed and willing to make an effort to eat healthy local food. You don’t need to get a farm job to do that.