This past weekend we received a letter from our summer CSA farm, and they are cancelling the season. You see, our farmer is getting older, and he had hired someone to manage the farm for the season back in January. Unfortunately, this individual did not work out. It is too late to look for someone now, and to have the proper planning time for such a large summer CSA program done all by hand. Yes, they only used human power to work their few acres of garden space. They averaged about 80 families each season.
I was so excited for this year, too! Especially after knowing I spent more money then I needed to last summer on fresh vegetables. Add to that my desire to safe guard against my gardening woes, and my ideal situation is this summer CSA.
What should I do? Well, I immediately looked into some other CSA programs in the area. Unfortunately, they aren't exactly what we are looking for. We are a family of 4 and we all love our veggies, most of the other CSA share programs are much smaller, and therefore wouldn't be as big of a cost benefit to us. Meaning, it makes more sense to just visit these farms at the farmers' market, rather than seeking them out for a basket each week.
It is really unfortunate that this amazing farm, and amazing farmer, we have known for the past six years has now decided that the farm is too much work to continue managing. He is putting it up for sale. I honestly hope that some young family comes along and snatches up such a wonderful location. Secretly I wish that we could do it, but it is an awful lot of time and an awful lot of work I know we are not ready for.
I am very happy that I will have the ability to go to the farmers' market each week, and that I will still have the co-op to visit as well. I now know that I need to make my garden even more of a priority, because the vegetables I was hoping to receive from the farm will no longer be available to us.
I think this is becoming more and more common across the country though, small farms just aren't able to continue on because farmers are getting older, and they don't have people to take over for them. Way back when, if your parents were farmers, it was what you did. So many people have been pushed away from farming now for the "better life" that is available away from the farms, that the farms are disappearing. Instead, they are replaced by huge farms that use machines and cheap labor to grow one crop. And that makes me very sad.
I see movies like Grow! and I just hope there are a lot more young farmers out there to keep feeding us. In the meantime, I guess I need to do my part and figure out how to have a better garden on my little quarter of an acre!
Have you noticed any small farmers in your area giving up their farms, or trying to sell them?
Linking up at Clever Chick, Homestead Barn Hop, Your Green Resource