08 August 2009

Will work for food

Yesterday Meg and I spent the good part of the day picking green beans at Blue Blaze Farm. We met the grower, Eric, at the farmer's market and bartered our labor for some of his excess produce. Eric and his wife Melody's farm is certified naturally grown and is about 5 1/2 acres. Meg and I don't have any intentions of becoming market farmers, but we do want to grow food on a large scale. We figure that a couple years head start would eliminate some of the growing pains new farmers experience when they start with little to no knowledge of sustainable food production.

For those of you who are interested in this kind of cooperative farming, we should provide this little side note. Farmers obviously need to make money to keep their operation going, so I'm not too sure how open they would be to people flooding their stands and asking for food in exchange for labor. Rob from One Straw had a great post that kind of hits on this little dilemma. I think our case with Eric and Melody might be a little unique. They have a new baby and this is their first year growing full-time (this is their only source of income); their production needs have increased, but their ability to input labor has not. Perhaps when their baby becomes a little less time consuming (is that even possible?) they both can be out there together more often. Until that time comes, hopefully we can help them out on occasion.


Meryl said...

There is a local farm in our area that does that too. Most of the year you can buy directly from them or pick-your-own for a slightly reduced price. But if they have a bumper crop to the extent that they can't get whatever the food item is picked quickly enough, they send out an email to their newsletter subscribers--you get to take home half of whatever you want to pick, for free.

I went out and got some green beans just last weekend, in fact: http://www.mybitofearth.net/2009/08/picking-dinner.html

The Allotment Blogger said...

Clever idea. There's a new scheme being operated by the National Trust in the UK where they are turning over land to community gardeners who work cooperatively to grow vegetables and then all get a share of the produce.