Recession Hits Farms Hard—Local Needs Help

What now?

Farming is all about investment. In the past, when it seemed we could, we coasted. With farm costs roughly balanced against income; with my off-farm job providing a financial cushion, and with the strong support of community, we’ve been able to subsidize the farm’s work, my teaching and educational work here at the farm, and infrastructure maintenance. As I synopsized in my 09 “Bacon Bucks” kick off, the last months of ’08, and early ’09 have shifted that balance. The casual “What now?”, “Where do we go from here?” take a grave tone.

Food System Fails to Give Us Good Food
These times present a lot of fodder for speculation. I’m clear. As a farmer, as an agrarian, as a member of my community; as a caregiver, mentor, nurturer, I must bank on the future. Food and responsibility to the next generation are not optional. It is not cheaper, smarter, more economical, ecological, or more nutritious for us to rely on food from Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, California, Mexico, Chile, China! And that’s why we’ll plant this year. Especially this year! And we’ll plant as much as we possibly can so that apprentices, interns and students can learn and experience the skills, knowledge and realities of a life connected to the land; they can learn and experience the primal satisfaction, creativity and joy of good, clean and fair work. We’ll plant as much as we can because the availability of clean food in today’s world is at risk. (You’re familiar with the industrial food system’s recalls of the past couple of years: beef, spinach, peanut butter, etc.—what next? That system has failed us miserably and continues to do so at an ever increasing rate.) We’ll plant now so that May through October and beyond we’ll have fresh nutritious, succulent greens, squashes, beans, corn, tomatoes, and other fruits and veggies for you and us. We’re planting even more this year because the cost of food may rise sharply and supply fall as 50% fewer acres are planted by agribusinesses as a result of the financial mess and global warming. (Resources like water—California has declared a drought state and the feds have significantly reduced ’09 allocations to California agriculture, producer of 25% of US food.) We’ll plant this year because it’s the right thing to do. And we’ll continue to teach as much as we can about a trustworthy, clean, healthy food system.

A Local Food System Is Ours
Yes, we’re scaling up everything, to the limits of our ability, to do our part to support the growth of a local food system. You should too. If you’re a customer of ours, please join our Community Supported Agriculture program, become a member of our farm. If you’re not near here, find a CSA and join it, and encourage your neighbors and friends to do the same! (Type in your zip code at I’m hearing the same story from lots of small farmers: we’re on the edge and we’re having a difficult time getting through. If our local farms fail, we’ll all suffer. BUY LOCAL! Plan for a secure, healthy food supply that supports our community.

Berkshares and Moon In The Pond “Bacon Bucks”
Moon In The Pond “Bacon Bucks” purchased using Berkshares ( together increase your support of our community and initially save you 5%. Then as a member of Moon In The Pond Farm you receive a membership gift on joining, and special seasonal members only discounts (as much as 50% off selected items).

Local Organic Meat is Crazy Expensive
Eat well and good and local, dammit!

We raise the absolute best food available on the planet, and yup, on the one hand, it’s expensive. But as the Italian proverb says, “It’s better to spend money on food than on doctors” and, from my Jewish friends in NYC, “Ya get what ya pay for, cheap isn’t cheap.”. Let me tell you, I do shop (not all the food we eat is from the farm), and I feed a farm family (a minimum of four hard working adults, and often double that), always organic, and most often local food. We eat an enormously nutritious diet of delicious and plentiful meals of real food, three times a day — every day. How do we do it? Economy. Although I have a freezer brimming with dozens upon dozens of exquisite beef steaks, luxurious pork center cuts, amazing legs and loins of milk-fed goat, none of them have passed the lips of the poor sods in this household in months! We’re on a budget.

Special Chicken!
We had a chicken ($8/lb. Yikes!) a few weeks ago to celebrate a tough work week and old friends visiting. That three and a half pound chicken ($28) fed six of us to extreme satisfaction — with a boatload of roasted veg and potatoes basted in chicken juices and our own steamed kale from the freezer. The whole meal with baked apple and ice cream dessert still only rang out (if you figure kale at $6) at about $10 each for a very special, all organic, mostly local meal. Sausage Soup

Weeks ago I simmered up a batch of our pork bones with vegetables and stashed the stock in the freezer.A couple o’ quarts heated up with half a head of local cabbage, TWO broken up ($6) sage sausage (ours), four medium potatoes (ours), one diced celeriac (Indian Line Farm), and two ribs of celery. We oohed and aahed through our vegetable rich ‘sausage’ soup and were satisfied on $1.50 worth of meat each (o.k. if you include the $4 worth of organic pork bones that made the stock, then $2.50)!Great.Not expensive.

We’re all up against it. Let’s keep ourselves and those we love healthy and happy—frugally, not cheap, supporting our community businesses and organizations, friends and farms.

I want our community businesses, farms and friends to be here and healthy in a year or two.

Eat well, and good and local. Questions? Call me, dammit!