I hadn’t driven on Route 27 for a few weeks. Yesterday, though, driving through Acton and over to Concord, I noticed the gigantic red, white and blue FOR LEASE sign outside of one of the recently (ie within the last 5 years) organic farmstands. It was kind of a shock to me; no one has been buzzing about it in town.
A reminder that farming and selling fruits and veggies is a tough business? This particular farmstand may have relocated, that would be my hope, but I fear it simply has fallen victim of America’s penchant for cheap food grown who-knows-how.
If your family history is anything like mine, you probably have people in your ancestry who made their living from working in agriculture. And as we’ve become more modern, the farms, sadly have been disappearing. Over the 16 years I’ve lived in my town, I’ve watched as apple farm after apple farm has been sold off as plots for housing development. The old-timers in town talk about pig farms and dairy where a strip mall now stands.
My husband, Adrien, has been photographing the efforts of farmers who work with New Entry Sustainable and we belong to the CSA, World Peas. The farmers working with New Entry come with a variety of backgrounds: some have degrees or backgrounds in a related field, some are career-changers tired of being tied to a desk, some are immigrants from far-away countries trying to adapt to a new land.
Trying to encourage and train new farmers is a work of the heart as farming is such an unforgiving business: market selection, tending crops – those can all be taught. Weather and the whims of nature, impact even the most thoughtful farm efforts. For more on New Entry and some of the people who do this work, you may find this blog post interview with Matthew Himmel interesting.
We enjoy the fruits of their efforts as they learn farming techniques that we hope will enable these newbies. One way we can all support local farms and farming is, of course, through Farmers’ Markets, but another is to buy a CSA share, like World Peas.
And maybe, those For Lease signs won’t be popping up so frequently.