Monday, January 18, 2010

Food With a Farmer's Face on it

The concept of Community Supported Agriculture was born from many hungers – hungers for safe, nourishing food, hungers for healthy rural landscapes and communities, hungers for connection in an increasingly far-flung and disconnected world. Specifically, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) began in 1971 when a group of women in Japan recognized
their hungers for a healthy environment, economy and family and sought to satisfy these hungers by forming a relationship with a local farmer. They agreed to pay him upfront for a season’s worth of vegetables, so that the farmer would have enough money for all of the necessary inputs, plus have the assurance that his produce was sold at a fair price.
The Japanese name that evolved for this sustainable vegetable trade was “teikei,” which translates as "cooperation" or "link-up", and, in reference to CSAs, is often translated as “food with a farmer’s face on it.”

This remarkably simple concept has spread since then, feeding hungers worldwide. In the United States alone there are nearly 2,000 CSAs. Here at our CSA, we enjoy knowing that what we do facilitates healthful relationships – relationships with our land, our neighbors, our economy and our food growers (our Humble Farmer, Farmer Babe, and the Core Group). In the future, we will be bringing these faces to you and we hope you will take the time to read these and to introduce yourself to them when you see them. Our CSA growers love shareholder interaction – that is part of why they work here at Hand in Hand Community Farm, and for the Hand in Hand Family at large, for the real relationships that are forged with shareholders and the wider community. They also appreciate input from shareholders about what they would like to see at their farm.

I, as the faithful Farmer Babe, deeply appreciate knowing who is behind the produce I enjoy when I sit down to another delicious meal featuring Hand in Hand produce. I also enjoy having the opportunity to chat with our CSA growers, ask them questions, and thank them for the vital work that they, and all our team members, do. Look for more information about your CSA growers and about “teikei” in upcoming blogs.

Additions written by Jen Shaffer (a/k/a the faithful Farmer Babe), based on an original article by Elizabeth Thompson (adapted from the June 25, 2007 'Harvest Times', Canticle Farm, Inc. newsletter, all rights reserved). Prior to becoming the Farmer Babe of Hand in Hand Community Farm, Ms. Shaffer was the 2005 Community Relations Coordinator for Canticle Farm, Inc. located in Allegany, NY.

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