News from the Farm | April 11, 2022

A farmer, regardless of what they grow, wears many hats: agronomist, soil scientist, hydrologist, entomologist, pathologist, meteorologist, mechanic, salesperson, driver, regulatory specialist, and more, in addition to participating in agriculture-related advocacy and social groups. Plus being a parent, spouse, sibling, and friend, and roles in religious institutions, political groups, sports teams, and community groups, time for hobbies, and some have off-farm jobs.

Additional jobs that farmers of the Full Belly variety have taken on are educator, event planner, tour guide, and research collaborator. Almost since the beginning, it’s been the Full Belly way to share, teach, learn from, and collaborate with others; to be open and accessible; and to be a place where eaters can know who grows their food and understand what’s involved in that process. Only by sharing knowledge and experience, engaging with others, and building relationships can we work towards a better, stronger, and healthier food system that supports the environment, economy, and community. That food system rests on economically viable farms that are responsible stewards of the land, are good employers, and have the trust and support of their customers and community.

The primary way we share the farm is with our produce, but over the years, we’ve shared the farm in many ways. To name many, but not all: the internship program, farm tours, summer camp, classes, the Hoe’s Down, the Mother’s Day Garden Tour, farm dinners, pizza nights, interviews, even attending farmers markets each week, and what we share on our website, social media accounts, and in the weekly Beet newsletter. Most of that list requires bringing people here, to the farm, and with the pandemic, that hasn’t been prudent. Many of our longstanding events either haven’t happened at all in the last two years, or resumed in 2021 but look a different, and likely are much smaller. We are constantly thinking about the safest and best way to continue our goals of being an open, friendly place while also keeping everyone safe. Many farms don’t invite people to their farm, or do so very rarely. Even pre-COVID, having people on your farm was a big ask of any farmer; any time spent showing people around the farm is time spent not farming, or time away from rest and time with family. Opening the farm has potential implications for physical safety of guests, our animals, and crew, food safety, insurance premiums, and productivity. Just like a having a guest to your house, having people out at the farm is exhilarating and fun, but it is also exhausting, and is best when guests are invited and you have advance notice that they are coming.

That being said, we do love having people here, and there are several upcoming opportunities to do so. We currently have several events on the event calendar on our website and will likely add more, and there’s a Field Day we’re doing in partnership with the EcoFarm Association on April 23 for anyone who wants a deep dive into our production systems. More information about that below.

Otherwise, our weekly News from the Farm reports (sent to all CSA members, a newsletter list that anyone can sign up for, and is posted on the website) is an important place for us to connect with our community and share what we’re up to on a very regular basis. These updates strike a balance between the fact that farming is tough, difficult work and the magic, wonder, and romance of agriculture. They touch on what’s happening here in Guinda, and some of the larger issues and forces that impact us and that we care about and are involved in. Multiple people write these updates over the course of the year and we touch on a variety of subjects, not just the weather, though it would be easy enough to focus on that each week.

What are you interested in learning about? What are questions about Full Belly Farm that you’ve always wondered about? Let me know and perhaps you’ll see the answer in the News from the Farm sometime soon.

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

A just-mowed cover crop