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Know Your Farmer

"Knowing your farmer sounds like fun. You might even get to pet a goat or feed a horse sugar cubes from your outstretched palm. May pick your own strawberries. The fact is, if you don't live in the country, knowing your farmer probably won't happen. Better to start with baby steps, like knowing there are still such things as farmers. If you haven't heard, they're a quietly disappearing breed." - Douglas Gayeton

Farming ​can be hard work, painful and unforgiving. At the same time, it can be rewarding and empowering. Farmer John Peterson says, “Wanting to farm isn’t enough. A person should feel they have to take it on, because farming isn’t a destination. It’s a path. In many ways, its a path of surrender. Of devotion.”

We begin this edition of the Food List with Meet Dori Sanders, a resonating story about a Southern farmer who farms peaches where she was born and raised.

Knowing your farmer is as priceless as knowing where your food comes from. In fact, knowing who grows your food locally can be more valuable than any certification or stamp of approval.

Local food enthusiasts from GRACE communications have created a wonderful Eat Well Guide to help people around the country discover local farms and locally produced goods.

As a farmer, Jay Martin believes that Face Certification is the foundation of faith and trust behind his food. It’s what connects farmers and consumers. After​ speaking with farmers at her local farmer’s market, Hannah Wallace from Civil Eats ponders that very question, does certification matter? GRACE provides us with some thoughtful questions to consider asking vendors at your farmer’s market.

In The Real Dirt on Farmer John, one farmer’s spiritual quest for connecting to his land and his community led him to become a community supported agriculture pioneer.

As relationships among farmers and their customers grow and strengthen, so does the health of the local community. Nigel Walker, founder of Eatwell Farm, illustrates this symbiotic relationship in Growing with Your Local Farmer.

This week's terms

Know Your Farmer

Food is propagated and made by people. The choices these people make — their production methods, their labor practices, the ingredients they use — define their own value systems. When you buy food, you’re buying these values. Their values.

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are drafting new unwritten social contracts with their communities. By sharing their knowledge and experiences, farmers build trust, all by selling fresh produce. The beauty of a local food system is that it brings you back into a relationship with the source of your food, with the land, the animals, the plants, the farmers, and with each other

Community Supported Agriculture

Buying a CSA membership means entering into a partnership with a local farm. The member buys a subscription at the beginning of the season. This cash infusion allows the farmer to pay for seed, water, equipment and labor early in the season when farm expenses are high and farm income is low. In return, the farm provides its members with a box of fresh picked seasonal produce each week. CSAs build community by reconnecting its members to the seasons and by fostering relationships between members and the people who grow their food.

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