Climatology 2010: Local, sustainable fuel (wood) still available: Warm days, cool night continue.
Finance Revolution, continued! Questions about what we can do to effect change in the banking and finance system that is strangling small business and families the world over? Contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve’s Soapbox: One consequence of the food safety debate that has raged on nationally for close to two years now has been a division among sustainable and organic agriculture advocates. We are dividing into those who appreciate the role of government including its regulatory bodies and those who do not. The polarized debate that exists nationally between the conservative and liberal “polarities” is just as clearly evident in sustainable agriculture where a strong “middle” has emerged.
A recent email from Brian Snyder, executive director of PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), excerpted below, defines very well the situations that “moderating forces” face:
“…I think this is a poignant moment for the sustainable ag movement. With strong opposition from corporate ag (as expected) and now also emerging from the Libertarian wing of our communities with regard to Food Safety, I think we can expect more of the same as we enter a two-year process on the Farm Bill. We suddenly are looking like the rational middle – though those other two factions are oddly somewhat aligned on the subject of government regulation, and heaven help us if they really do get together! Unfortunately, at a time like this we find ourselves wanting for a better overall communications strategy. It seems to me a necessary priority to do something about this.
…We’ve got to come to terms with (and take responsibility for addressing) the kernel of truth in what [our libertarian wing] is expressing. Our governments – at all levels – do lie to us, and they do it routinely. Bureaucrats also use power to manipulate ordinary people, including farmers and small business owners, in a way that foments anger. The folks wanting us to reverse on Food Safety have often experienced these things first hand. ..”
As most of you know, I have been working closely with both Big Business and government for the last two years on the food safety issue. Until recently I have been satisfied with the commitment to support agriculture of all scales. Over the last month Big Business interests have generated enormous negativity toward the portions of the food safety legislation that created for small and local market farmers and food producers an “equivalent” alternative system to that of the FDA. Big business is now trying to use its power over government to control access to local markets. That kind of power play has really compromised my willingness to engage Big Business interests.
Government, in this case, many members of Congress and also many Civil servants in key roles in FDA and USDA, are trying to maintain balance. The pressure from both extremes is crushing.
The way it looks to me is that right now it is a tough time to advocate for balance and moderation, because for the most part, that simply pisses off “both sides.” I have also seen the food safety debate as a “tip of the iceberg” for a full range of issues about market access and impact of agriculture on environment and communities.
As we “Sustainable moderates” move forward and craft our message, I will be directing you to that information.
This is a very important, even if difficult time to advocate for moderation and a re-commitment to civil discourse. Above all we have to hold all segments of the debate accountable for honesty; this includes business of all sizes, and government of all levels. The burden of responsibility for that task falls on all of us.
This week’s Cow stories: Mesa Top cows, and Jim Miller Ayrshire project:
Another bull calf at Mesa Top. The bull run continues.
We are preparing to produce raw milk cheeses at Mesa Top. We have done an “extreme makeover” of the kitchen in the passive solar straw bale building (SBB) to make it easier to clean.
We are redesigning the corrals so that we can shortly begin milking cows at the SBB.
We have sent off our first batch of samples of the raw milk to assure that our environment is pathogen free.
We have ordered a beginning set of supplies such as cultures, wax, and other ingredients so that we can branch out into aged cheeses.
This week we will have mozzarella and a small amount of ricotta cheese available only for our members.
This week’s cheese share update:
This week the cheese share will include Mesa Top Mozzarella and a variety of other artisanal cheese.
This week’s Veggie/Share Update:
This week we again have an ample bag of salad mix from Agricultura COOP.
We are skipping carrots and apples to make room for the first citrus from our nearest regional trading partner, South Texas Organics. We have wonderful sweet Hamlin oranges and Meyer lemons. Additional fruit is available by special order if you like.
As our potato of the week, we are giving a big bag of organic yellow potatoes from White Mountain Farm.
We have garlic and onions. Probably there will only be one more delivery of these storage root crops, during January. Unfortunately drops and yields this past season were too small and we do not have as much in storage as we would like.
This week’s fruit also includes the last persimmons of the season. Do not worry if they are already soft! That is the way we want them to be. They are now at the peak of sweetness and flavor!
And we hope you enjoy one more delivery of holiday pecans!!!
Membership news: We made it through a week of heavy “substitution” as Dena and Colleen were ill. All staff are recovering and we hope to be back to more like “normal” this week. Thank you for your patience.
This is the final distribution of 2010. We wish all of you happy and healthy and safe holidays, and look forward to next year, and the opportunity to share with you the process of bringing local and regional foods to you in ways that support our farmers and our families and our communities.
We welcome your “pre-investment” for 2011, please visit www.beneficialfarm.com and take advantage of our year-end discounts to support member investment.
We appreciate your continued support!