I own part of a farm.
I don’t really, but I do share parts of two farms. I actually participate in community supported agriculture, on two different fronts. One area is in my local church. For three years now, I get a whole lot of beef in my freezer in January or February, from cows that I pass just about every day. I go to church with the people who raise these cows. I helped organize the wedding of their daughter, who has watched my kids on several occasions. When someone stole money from me, they helped me cover the costs of what was taken. I’ve even had occasion to be angry at them.
The other part is with an “official” CSA, and I’m not nearly as tied to the community that it comes from. The farm is over an hour away and if I ever happened to be just driving by, I would be seriously lost. But I’m still glad for it, and have seen the farm, and met some of the ones that have done the work. This farm has the Avalon Acres name.
As the result of work from a local reading group, several families have been participating in this through the winter, taking turns going to pick up the food and bringing it back to distribute. It’s been great. It’s not organic, but it’s raised by people who care about what they’re doing and want us to share the harvest with them.
If you’re in most of Middle Tennessee, or the Jackson area of West Tennessee, you can participate too. I haven’t balanced out the cost vs. the grocery store, but the difference in other areas is phenomenal. The quality of the meat (we’ll soon find out about the vegetables)is great. Yes, there are downsides (I have no idea what to do with hog jowl) but I am glad that about 80% of the meat I eat comes from within 100 miles of my house.
There are many reasons for the resurgence of interest in small farms. Books like Fast Food Nation and movies like Supersize Me have reminded us of our separation from the origins of our food. Opportunities like CSAs and fair trade purchases shouldn’t just be about assuaging our guilt, but about being closer to one another.