Avalon Acres

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.

Find out more about Avalon Acres or Community Supported Agriculture in your area. CSA Avalon Acres

Things that go well.

I studied English in school and spent a lot of time critiquing and breaking things down to see how they worked. My nature has included too much of seeing what’s wrong with things, and in combination with my critical nature, the two have not always been helpful.

So I need to take time to notice things that are going well, and one of the things that goes well at our church is the Angel Food Ministry. You can watch the youtube clip to see a little about what it is, though the video comes from the main program, not specifically the church I live in.

We started doing Angel Food more than a year ago, and I have to say that the members of the church just said “sounds like something God would have us do.” and jumped on board.

This month, Saturday the 25th to be exact, we’ll have about 50 households come through our church and for $28 they’ll overfill a ream of paper sized box with good food. Some of these people will be using food stamps to make their purchase, some will be coming because they just want to save money, and a few will be coming because we are giving them a box to help them get through difficult times.

Now, if you dig very deep, you’ll find some prosperity gospel folks attached to Angel Food, and of course, if you want me to critique that, I can. But I can’t see any problem with a church participating in what is basically a great big food co-op.

I have had people cry from receiving their Angel Food boxes, though generally it’s not for a box that fed them, but for a box that allowed them to feed others. I think specifically of some people who take the boxes to their elderly parents who live on a very fixed income.

Lots of churches participate in Angel Food. It’s a growing thing. At our church, which has a regular attendance of about 120, we have enough volunteers each month to take orders, make labels and pass out food. Thanks be to God for helping us to help others.