Delivery day (for the CSA geeks)

Delivery day (for the CSA geeks)

The farm's Community-Supported Agriculture members have a choice between shopping for items at our farm stands or picking up a collection of produce that we select each week.  Normally, Jen packs the CSA totes each Wednesday while I help finish the harvest for it.  She's on vacation this week though, so Ted packed boxes and I did the deliveries.  In previous years I've delivered more often for various reasons, but this might be my only chance this season to share how it's done... so get out your CSA geek glasses and let's dive in to the nuts and bolts!

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Market zone, part four

Market zone, part four

We got the stand up and running in parts one and two, delivered restaurant orders and picked up CSA totes in part three, and I'm back at the farm.  Out of market zone for just a couple hours.  This week after eating my lunch in the shade, I find the group of interns and Americorps volunteers pulling up the last of the garlic and shallots in the third field.  They look hot and tired, but are in good spirits, and seem excited to take a break for a field walk.  This window on Thursday afternoons is often the best time to do a class or workshop, when we've gotten a lot done for the week and can take a break to dive in to a farming topic.

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New partnership, old tractor

New partnership, old tractor

What a way to start a week.  Five well-dressed Trillium Community Health Plan representatives are waiting near the road when I pull up at 8:45am.  More arrive every minute as we discuss where to set up the canopy, podium, and catered spread.  They don't waste any time getting organized and set up for the event we're hosting: a new partnership announcement between Trillium and FOOD for Lane County to provide more fresh produce to local low-income patients.  The event seems kind of hyped up, like a public relations stunt, until I hear our board members, executive director, and people from Trillium speak about the programs we're collaborating on.  They're providing $120,000 over the next two years to expand our Produce Plus markets around the county, where people can get fresh fruits and veggies at convenient locations, institutionalize the "Screen and Intervene" program where medical providers ask whether patients worry about running out of food-- then provide them with resources to access the food they need.  For the Youth Farm, the program means an extra $5,000 for diabetes prevention program participants who receive vouchers to spend exclusively at our farm stands.  These are the types of programs that anyone who cares about food insecurity have been dreaming of, that get to the root causes of hunger and the social determinants of health.  Finally, the funds to make it all happen are starting to flow.  

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Tours

I'm standing at the front of the farm with intern Hannah and almost twenty university students that have come as part of their environmental studies course.  They haven't reached their unit on farm workers and food justice, but they will in a few weeks, and they're here to get some hands-on experience with farming.  It will be almost laughably more pleasant than the everyday experience of most farm workers in this country.  It's sunny but cool, it's already mid morning when they arrive, they'll be weeding garlic for just a couple hours, and I'm not putting any expectations on them about productivity.  Unlike these students, many farm workers are in the fields from sunrise to sunset, are paid abysmally, lack access to good medical care and housing, and have no power to negotiate better working conditions.  Doing some manual labor and learning about our programs may help them better understand the plight of the agricultural labor force in this country, but for the most part, I just hope they walk away with one more modicum of understanding of how food appears on their plates.

For those of you who are still unfamiliar with the scope of the farm's programs, the following is the same basic overview that I usually share with groups-- probably less meandering and redundant than I can usually manage on the fly!

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Twenty one degrees

Twenty one degrees

The tomatoes have sprouted.  The greenhouses are full of tender leafy greens.  Eggplants and peppers are trying to germinate over specially heated mats. And the forecast is calling for a low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit tonight.

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