Aug 17

Our Farming Future

It is the middle of August, yet by the looks of my local organic farm, it could easily pass for June. Baby salad greens and basil have thrived this summer as a result of cooler temperatures and incessant rain. But the jungle of produce I am accustomed to seeing in the fields is not there.

The cucumbers and tomato plants should be sky high by now, and the squash should be flourishing mounds of vines. But instead, the squash is being planted for the third time as a rain flooded the fields not once but twice. And the tomatoes… Oh, the tomatoes. They simply didn’t stand a chance. With one of the worst cases of late blight spreading it’s spores to tomatoes and potatoes throughout the Northeast, it was only a matter of time before the plants and their fruit succumbed to the ravages of blight’s decay and demise.

This small urban farm of only 3½ acres stands to take a loss of nearly $100,000 as a result of the challenges of this summer. And, it is not alone. Most farms depend on the bounty of summer’s yield to put them in the black and set them up for the year ahead. Faced with the challenges of this summer, it’s going to take an effort and support of gargantuan size to sustain our New England farms.

There could not be a more critical time for each one of us to lend a helping hand in sustaining our local farms. A simple supply and demand model can help solve this complex problem. Find a farm stand or farmers market to shop at regularly. Plant your own garden or volunteer your time at a local farm. Start a community or school garden. Insist on local produce wherever you shop for groceries or eat out. Demand to know the source of your food. And don’t settle for conventional produce that is genetically modified, pesticide-ridden or has endured process upon process to get from the farm to your table.

Most importantly, breathe this intention into your soul every day so that you can access it when faced with making a choice. One empowered choice at a time can create a sustainable, nutrient-rich food system that is accessible to all. This is not chemical warfare, it is biological well-fare, and your health and the health of your community and environment are at stake.

Eat clean and live well.

Terry Walters

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