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This Week on the Farm 11/15
Big news! As of Sunday we are now officially members of FRESH Food Connection! FRESH is a cooperative of small farmers and members of the public that is organized using a collective decision-making process. As part of our membership we sign a pledge that we farm sustainably and help educate the community about sustainable farming. One of the best parts is the co-op works as a network for us as farmers to bounce ideas off of fellow farmers and to get input to help us better our farming practices and our member’s experience with us.
We got a lot of great ideas at our first meeting and it was really cool to see a group of people come together around a table and agree fairly easily on what was best for the group. There were a lot of great discussions and it was the most friendly group I have ever been a part of where decisions that impact every member are being made.
Here is a copy of the pledge that Tyler and I signed this weekend:
- To use no synthetic or chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- To use no genetically modified crops, chemically treated seeds, synthetic toxic materials, irradiation or sewage sludge.
- To maintain and build soil fertility by use of on-farm composting, cover-crops, green manures, mulch, reduced tillage and crop-rotation.
- To allow customers open access to the farm at mutually agreed upon hours or by appointment.
- To use no irradiation, ultra-pasteurization, synthetic preservatives, or genetically modified additives in processing, and to include all ingredients on labels.
- To treat livestock humanely by providing access to the outdoors, and to pasture for ruminants; and to reject all cruel alterations motivated by confinement convenience.
- To use no hormones, GMOs, or antibiotics in animal feed except where the life of the animal is in danger, and then not to allow the meat into the public supply-chain.
- To treat our farm members and customers with respect, being duly responsive to questions, concerns and other input.
- To conserve water resources by practicing responsible irrigation and minimizing runoff on erodible lands
- To maintain idle lands in a way which harmonizes with the native biotic environment.
- To reduce the ecological footprint of our farms by conserving energy and using renewable resources
- To reduce food miles by focusing on local and regional markets.
- To support agricultural markets and infrastructures that help small farmers to thrive.
- To use ethical business practices, including treating our families and workers with respect and insuring their safety on our farms.
- To pay a fair wage to our workers, and acknowledge their freedom of association and right to collective bargaining.
- To share and develop sustainable-farming skills and knowhow.
- To encourage the distribution of unsold food to people who need it.
- To sustain and enhance the ecological and cultural integrity of the land for future generations.
As part of our membership, our CSA members for 2012 and beyond will be able to get an insurance rebate for their membership with us if they have Physicians Plus, Dean Health Plan, or Group Health Cooperative as their providers. Insurance rebates range from $100 for single members and up to $200 for families depending on the provider. We will hopefully be able to add other providers to this list someday and if you don’t see your provider listed, try contacting them and telling them you would be interested in seeing this rebate program become part of their wellness program.
All of the snow has melted on the farm. The ground is a little wet, but not so wet that we can’t get out into the fields to finish fall clean-up. We are planning on taking the roadside stand down this week, so no more produce until spring. We finished cleaning the last of the onions this morning and will be taking them to Madison to our favorite restaurant! If you go to Monty’s Blue Plate Diner on Atwood in the next week you will get to eat our onions!!