Mondays are Physical Day here at Taking it to the Streets
And Tuesdays are “Idea” day – today, my friends you get a Two-Fer, as I just finished reading Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat by Temra Costa.
What a lot of great ideas! The book is divided into six sections, each with several profiles of women who are doing cool work around that topic. The sections are:
- Building new Farm-to-Eater Relationships
- Advocates for Social Change
- Promoting Local & Seasonal Food
- Networks for Sustainable Food
- Urban Farm Women
- The Next Generation of Sustainable Farmers
At the end of each chapter, after reading 3-5 stories of women involved in the topic at hand, there is a “Recipes for Action” section with action tips for Eaters, Farmers and Food Businesses. Additionally, there’s supplements (aka Appendices) and resource listings in the book and a really great Farmer Jane web site .
While I truly enjoyed the entire book, the “Building new Farm-to-Eater Relationship” section and “Urban Farm Women” probably spoke the most to me. As someone who is becoming passionately interested in localvorism, hearing of women farmers starting their own CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) was really inspiring. I LOVED the suggestions for eaters in this section (I’ve greatly shortened them):
- Join a CSA
- Start with a small committment and grow it (i.e., shop at Farmer’s markets once a month before you commit to weekly)
- Shop at your locally owned natural foods store or even better, a member or worker-owned food co-op)
- Start a food-buying club
- Encourage more local foods wherever you eat or shop
- Help those in need (check out www.foodnotbombs.net )
- Can and preserve foods
I was excited both because I’m doing some of these things already – but also because I’m not yet doing many of them – more opportunities to make a difference! In my own life and health, for sure – but also in this goofy world. Every carrot that doesn’t have to be hauled on a truck from California is one more bunch of oil we don’t have to buy from bad guys. And one more job closer to home. And hopefully, if I’m buying from local Farmer Janes or Farmer Nicks, it won’t be loaded up with all sorts of horrid chemicals either (like baby carrots in their chlorine baths…)
The other section I loved was the urban farming one. There are some very innovative women out there making big changes in the world – one empty lot at a time. Just check out what Willow Rosenthal started with City Slicker Farms! Starting with an $11,000 empty lot in Oakland, CA she has gone on to six little urban farms in Oakland, as well as the highly innovative Backyard Garden Program: “The Backyard Garden Program builds food self-sufficiency by empowering low-income households to grow fresh produce where they live. Low-income households interested in growing their own food apply to this free program. Our staff then tests their soil for contaminants. Based upon the soil analysis and what the household wants to grow, the household makes a garden plan with our staff. Together, the household gardeners and City Slicker Farms’ staff and volunteers build a garden in only four hours.”
I LOVE this concept!
But wait! There’s more! They do education, advocacy and consulting too.
And that’s just one of the stories in this highly inspiring book.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we can do in my little neighborhood. Already some of us are banding together. 5 households banded together and bought chicken and egg ‘shares’ for the winter (a poultry CSA, I guess) – prepaying Farmer Nick for a set amount of whole chickens and dozens of eggs (for instance my friend Bill & I split 3 chickens and one dozen eggs per month). Our friend Jen took delivery of them all and then we worked out delivery from Jen’s house in a nearby town to where the rest of us are a few towns away.
In the past I’ve split a CSA share with my neighbors Pete & Julie. Last year going to Farmer’s Markets worked out better.
It’s fun to take back our health and our economy and our lives by the very crucial issues of where we get our food. I’m not quite ready to turn into a gardener (though you know? I think I’m getting closer…) but getting healthy food that is healthy for me, the planet, the animals I eat and the economy – that’s pretty important to me.
So this book was a great resource for me. What part appeals to YOU? And how are you changing the way you eat – for health, the economy, Mama Earth or just because it’s so much tastier and more fun? Tell us!