You can find Farms of Tomorrow Revisited on amazon.com
All the major power tools at Fresh and Local CSA were stolen in the past two weeks, a devastating blow to production and livelihood.
My friends, biodynamic farmers Allan and Maura Balliett, have operated this Community Supported farm (CSA) for more than 15 years in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Because of these thefts and insurance company hair-splitting over the supposed difference between “tools” and “equipment”, they may be unable to continue their farming work. They need help.
Two weeks ago the farm had the following equipment stolen: a Stihl Gas Powered Backpack Blower/Sprayer, and a Shindawa C350 brushcutter.
Then last week the thieves came back and stole both of the farm’s tillers. That theft included the rotary plowed BCS walking tractor that was the farm workhorse for incorporating organic matter and efficiently creating raised beds.
All of this is professional equipment is essential for the Ballietts to produce food for their Fresh and Local CSA.
Since they began farming, Allan and Maura have always been subsistence farmers who operated on a “shoestring.” The equipment which was stolen was purchased gradually. Each summer, they purchased one “big” item or piece of equipment. Now it’s all gone.
Without some support, it is unlikely that they will be able to replace any of this equipment that is so important to their livelihood and to the many families that are CSA members. They’ve lost all the professional equipment needed to run their farm.
Just a little background on Allan. He is a highly principled, devoted biodynamic farmer. A pioneer, for years he has been a powerful champion for the organic, biodynamic, sustainable agricultural movement. He has provided a tremendous amount of community outreach, and has organized and produced some of the seminal conferences on sustainable and biodynamic agriculture in the mid-Atlantic region.
Allan started the Biodynamics Now! discussion group online more than 10 years ago and continues to moderate it. This requires hours of his time each week. He also produces a podcast where he interviews major figures in the nutrient dense food movement.
Each year Allan has both interns and WOOFers who come to his farm and he imparts to them all of the knowledge he has accumulated over the years. He does all these things without being compensated financially and because he cares very much about producing highly nutritious, clean food while also building the soil and stewarding the earth.
When I spoke with Allan on the phone this past week, he seemed broken. “I’m ruined.,” he lamented. “I’m so broke that I may literally become homeless in a few months.”
To help out, I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Please consider following the link and providing help to restore the essential farm equipment so Allan and Maura can and get back to work growing food.
Rodale’s New Farm magazine has published my article on CSA Farms and Aggregators in it’s Summer, 2015 edition. A few short excerpts:
“Community is not a warm and cuddly marketing concept attached to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It is, rather, a defining element. Yet in the past few years, some middleman food businesses have appropriated the term “CSA” to describe what they are doing, without involving community. This practice is leading to confusion and concern….
“…In the context of this trend, the term CSA is in danger of following the word “natural” down a mushy pathway to the realm of meaninglessness…
“The food industry has just scratched the surface of “locally grown” as a business concept, but seems intent on digging deeper. As the business aspect of local food grows in size and strength, will the community dimension of CSA continue to wither? That question will be answered not just by farmers, but also by the individual human beings who constitute the community….”
For the full article follow this link.
About a month ago the editors of Mother Earth News responded to my press release for Awakening Community Intelligence with an invitation to blog on the subject a bit for their renowned publication. I was happy to accept their invitation.
Here’s a link to my first blog post for Mother Earth News. That post as you will see is an explanatory excerpt from the Introduction to Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as 21st Century Cornerstones.
I’m pleased to announce publication of my new book, Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms as Community Cornerstones. Both print and ebook editions are now available via Amazon.com.
Over the last decades many thousands of people in all parts of the world have come to recognize in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) a vehicle for approaching land, food, labor, environment and community in a healthier way. Now – in an era with increasing shadows of environmental catastrophe – it’s time to expand exponentially the CSA vision and reality.
The opportunity is before us to establish hundreds of thousands of CSA farms in nations around the world, and to thereby employ a proven, egalitarian model to address the radically changing circumstances in our environment, climate, economics, and social relationships. This book lays out the vision.
By way of background: as a journalist I’ve been writing about CSA since its inception in the USA in the late 1980s. With Trauger Groh, I’m co-author of the first books on CSA: Farms of Tomorrow and Farms of Tomorrow Revisited. My other books include The Call of the Land, Profiles in Wisdom, Classical Considerations, and the epic nonfiction saga of contemporary America, Odyssey of the 8th Fire.
Awakening Community Intelligence sets out the vision and sounds is a call to action.
The book is available now in both print and ebook formats from Amazon.com. It’s also in wide range of eBook and Smartphone formats from Smashwords.com, and for all Mac devices in the iBookstore.