So, it's full-on Spring, and I am deep into trying to convince community members to become FarmShare members. Why would someone do this crazy thing? Why on Earth would someone pay a farmer a huge chunk of money MONTHS before getting vegetables, and without even knowing what the vegetables will be? Why pay to have someone choose your produce for you? Why pay for produce that you don't even know if you'll like, and that you don't even get to choose to suit your menu for the week?
I have a few good reasons.
First off, I think for many people, the actual produce is secondary. The money that they give to me, their farmer, is their investment in a community - a human community as well as an ecological community. The money they pay me is their support for a system that I am striving to be a healthy, useful part of. The farmer and the members are making an agreement that locally, sustainably, ethically grown food is of importance to them. The members are saying, please, do this for us, and the farmer is saying, thanks for letting me do this for you.
Secondly, the community of people at the farm is the best. All of our members come to the farm to pick up their veggies. This means, at least, they get reconnected to the place that grew their food when they come each week to get it. The farm is *their* farm - theirs to take walks on, have a picnic, swing by on the way home from (or to!) work to get the herbs they want for dinner. Even if they don't see any other people, the farm is here for them. Hopefully they do see people, though - one of their farmers, to answer questions about the weird vegetable in the share this week, or something ELSE to do with kale, or even just commiserate about the weather. And hopefully, they get to see some of their fellow members, for a chat in the picking garden while they harvest cherry tomatoes, or to exchange recipes. They are in this together - fellow members of a sisterhood of the faithful - those that have faith in the soil and in us, the hopeful farmers tending it.
Finally, the food. Same-day harvest means you're getting as much nutrition as possible from these tender, ephemeral veggies - no cross-country road trips here! Food harvested by someone you know also feeds something more than your stomach. When you eat food from your FarmShare, you know that you are contributing to 1. land that won't be turned into a housing development, but will continue to produce food for the community 2. the livelihood of a family in your community, a family that chooses to invest in other local businesses and thereby bolster the economy where you live and 3. a small farm that focuses on minimizing its negative environmental impacts in the community where you live (no effluent ponds here! no high-nitrate runoff into the Quackenkill here!).
So, that's why people choose to give up a little control over what is in their baskets of produce. The wonderful people who are members of my FarmShare community are making other choices, which have ripples far beyond their dinner plates.
Thank you to my community. Thank you for making all of this possible.