There is no experience like picking your dinner from a local farm, taking the time to cook it, consume it, and chatting with the farmer that tilled the soil, planted the seeds, and harvested your food. I recently discovered the power of developing a relationship with what I consume.
I recently visited CALLALOO, a small organic farm just outside San Diego, CA in Ramona run by Claude Payton.
Check out his website: http://www.callaloofarm.com/
In experiencing Claude’s farm, I learned about the constant struggle to cultivate the land, to be patient with seasons of growth and the unexpected hardships that nature throws his way. Claude’s life is his farm. He is sustained by his farm, not only through nutritious energy, but as a small business.
Claude runs a CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture). People in the San Diego county sign up to receive a box of produce from Callaloo every week or so. He delivers the box straight to their front door. Now that is a radical idea: to know personally who grows your food, to have your food come straight from the farm to your dinner table, and to be invested in what you consume.
Having a relationship with a local farmer adds value to what you consume. It is a way to not let a consumer-drive culture drive you, but to take ownership and educate yourself about how your food is processed and how it affects the land in which it took root.
Joining a CSA and talking with local farmers or shopping at local farmers markets are alternatives to shopping at the giant super markets that have shipped their food from all over the U.S. and abroad. Produce at these places lose much of their flavor and contribute to the globalized distribution system. This system often involves paying people barely live-able wages and creates environments of harsh working conditions. In opting to join a CSA you don’t have to worry about your money going to support social injustice, but can seek justice within the food consumption realm by supporting local agriculture.