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Building a Better Food System {Week 12 CSA}


What would our community look like if we were surrounded and supported by countless small, organic farms? More importantly, how would it feel?


Because in order for more organic farms to thrive here as a business, we undoubtedly need more people interested in buying, eating, and celebrating locally grown produce. And more people eating ultra-fresh, nutrient-dense organic produce would most certainly improve our community's health.


So we think it'd feel pretty good.


This might seem like a leap in our collective development, but perhaps it's not. Perhaps the steep rise in chronic health conditions, and the sad reality of diagnoses for these afflictions coming at ever-earlier ages, is one key opportunity—a critical catalyst for improving dietary habits at scale.


And perhaps the pandemic and the ample time at home radically shaped new behaviors. Statistics have continually shown a decline in home cooking over the decades, butin 2020 and 2021, people suddenly had the time to experiment with cooking, watch tutorials, and be surprised. All this while we confronted a constant appraisal of our health and resilience to possibly contracting a dangerous bug. More home cooking plus a greater focus on immune strength: Could the storm have been more perfect?


Now, coalesce that ripe seedbed for improved food relations with the elevation of passion projects we witnessed across the globe. Folks finally found time to dive deeper into their hobbies and beloved projects, and the result was a subtle professional exodus to see if their dreams could fly. At the farmers market, we saw an incredible surge in vendor inquiries from new home-based businesses—and several of those new businesses just happened to be new local farms.


Fast forward a couple of years and here we are in the middle of peak season. 'Tis the season for growing food and growing a food system. Zach recently joined the legendary Dave Chapman (one of the founders of the organic movement in the 80's) in a Real Organic Podcast to discuss this very topic. Can a single farm help spur the growth of a regional foodshed? Per usual, the answer is more nuanced than a simple yes or no.


But the short answer is, yes. Because it only takes one example of a successful farm to inspire more to take root. Over the years, we've welcomed several interns onto our farm, and while many of them swiftly discovered that high desert farming was not in the cards for them, a handful of them have now already started their own operations up here. Ripcord Farm in Washoe, Bridge 33 Farm in South Reno, and the yet-to-be-named Palomino Valley farm owned by brothers Josh and Geoff Souza are all underway. They're forging forward when those around them say it's impossible. Impossible to grow food at scale in the high desert and impossible to make a decent living. That it's too hard and too risky.


The thing is, solutions are never borne from limiting notions about what's possible. And the problem of a glaring lack of food security, heavy footprints for shipped food shipped, a disconnection from how our food is grown, the loss of biodiversity and soil health on the mega-farms stocking our stores, and the detriment to nutritional content and flavor that less-than-fresh food boasts... all of these problems are addressed by the rise and celebration of small, organic, soil-focused farms.


It's a delicate thing, growing a food system. If we don't continue to reach out to new customers—who hopefully become regulars—then many of these new producers won't make it. The increase in local farms needs to match the pace of the growth of local support for those farmers. It's a gradual process of introducing folks to vibrant, ultra-fresh food and hoping its flavor and vitality out win the expectations of homogenized, sterilized, "perfectly shaped" and sometimes cheaper produce found at most grocery stores in town.


This is a primary goal of our farmers market and the main reason we folded our market into the mission and activities of the local non-profit, Local Food System. Our friends at River School Farm, Tom and Iris Stille, started this organization almost fourteen years ago to foster more local production and consumption of organically grown food. The mission continues, and our market is playing an important role in introducing people to the reality of better nutrition (and flavor) from better farming practices. While the challenges are many, it seems the public is riper than ever to embrace what organic and regenerative farming offer: better health, better ecology, and real connection.


Yes, we're preaching to the choir here. Thank you for being the choir and for already seeing the ripple effect of your purchases and food choices. Thank you for supporting this little farm with this mighty mission. With every new, local, organic farm that begins up here, our community becomes more food secure and nutrient-dense. We all win.



Zach talking with Dave Chapman of The Real Organic Project on our farm and our efforts to help build a more resilient foodshed


 

Inside Your Box This Week


Shishito Peppers

Yellow Onions

Swiss Chard

Salad Mix

Kohlrabi

Scallions

Zucchini

Carrots

Basil

 

Recipes Worth Trying...

{click images to go to recipe}



 

For supporting our small organic farm.

For helping pave a way forward for regenerative agriculture.

For investing in young farmers.

For buying local.

We're honored to nourish you!








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