Monday, February 8, 2010

100 Mile Monday

Today we talk CSA's. We already have one for meat- in about 4 weeks our first shipment will arrive! I've been looking into fruit and veggies CSA's and have found one that we can afford. BUT the group only has X number of shares and the old members have first dibs, so I am waiting for the group leader to email me saying newbies can sign up. It's more stressful that preschool application time! Which is saying a lot since there was a woman who got on the registration line for a good preschool in our area at 3:30 pm the DAY BEFORE registration started. IN THE SNOW! That woman was not me; I refuse to buy into the preschool insanity. Ok I'm too poor to buy into the preschool insanity.. but anyway back to CSA discussions.

I had found a group farm in New Jersey that looked it had promise. They have wheat, they have eggs, they have chickens and beans! They also have a really interesting take on food production, here are some excerpts from my correspondence with them:

"Basically, we are looking extensively at the true cost of growing real, alive, organic food in New Jersey, given the context of our current economic system and cost of living. We are finding that the cost of living and farming makes it virtually prohibitive for farmers to start up in NJ without being subsidized by and off-farm job or some other source of funds. We live and work within an economic system that does not accurately reflect all the wide-ranging costs of growing and shipping food and that can, therefore, offer fairly cheap food, even organic. We see this trend affecting most authentic small businesses, especially artisans--but really everyone from auto mechanics to farmers.

It is our goal to be able to feed thirty people 'fully' in within three years (2013). Both my partner and I have extensive organic and Biodynamic farming experience and a passion for creating a farm in partnership with nature. We want to grow food that nourishes people on all levels-body, mind, heart, spirit. We are attracting people who want to support the development of a truly sustainable farm and community from the ground up."

Sounds great right? Sounds like it would be worth a drive to New Jersey every week with the kids right? (its really not that far only about 10 miles and 10 dollar bridge toll) But then I read the rest of the email. Where prices got discussed. This farm is fully run on membership money including the farmers' salary of $21,00 a year. How the heck are they living on $42,000 a year (there are two people who run the farm) was my first question...The members contribute $8,000 a year per person per year. They also charge for children (though it is much less and on a case by case basis). It works out to $160 a week. There was a lot of stuff about the different levels of membership that I was slightly confused about, specifically that some members sign up as individuals but share their share with family- "Foundation members usually sign up as a family and Supporting members might have one member of the household join. While they pick up the amount food they need per week as an individual, of course they share it with their families."
So my question here is what is they system for pickup? Is there a system of everyone gets what they need or gets however much they want? I as an individual may only need one potato but if I am sharing with the family I really need 3 (ok 4 since the baby eats them too)...

You can also join on a trial basis for $500 a month for a minimum of 3 months.

As much as this farm sounds like it would be a one stop shopping experience I can't justify the cost at this time. We don't spend $160 each week for food- we spend that maybe every 2 weeks or longer. So even though this farm would bring us back to the land, and give us almost complete control over where our food is coming from the cost is out of our reach. Even if the hubby had not been laid off it would be out of our reach. So is it only the single, upper class, childless people who can truly afford to eat with a conscious? Something I'm pondering as we go...

no farmer's market report today as it was too cold to get there.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Umm, this single, formerly childless, middle-class person could never/would never spend $160 per week on food! I don't think I'd spend that much even if I was throwing a party!