News from the Farm | November 22, 2021


We’re closing in on the end the year! After this week, we’ve got two more weeks until our winter break, with a teaser this weekend when most of us have Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off –– the exceptions are the Saturday farmers market crew, our hard-working delivery drivers, and the folks who care for our animals, who will be working.

For those not involved in farming on a day-to-day basis, it’s quite easy to view farming through idealized, rose-colored glasses. For those of us in the furrows (instead of in the trenches), it’s easy to focus on all that makes farming difficult. In a recent conversation I had with someone calling to find out about the CSA, she said, “farming is such a risk, it’s safer to gamble.”

The truth of the daily experience is somewhere in the middle between the idyllic and the difficult. But there is a lot of “magic” happening on a daily basis (starting with the simple combination of seed plus water, sun, and time) and the farm is really beautiful, as is the Capay Valley, all things I can take for granted. This weekend in the calm before the storm of the pre-Thanksgiving bustle, I took some time to reflect on how impressive and special the farm is, and what it is that we do. And who the “we” is.

“We” certainly includes the owners and employees of the farm, an amazing group of people that I am fortunate to work with, and the animals, plants, pollinators, and pests found within our borders. The farm’s, soil, water, and climate are all essential, as is the equipment we use too, but almost as important is our community, a force which isn’t present at the farm most days, but is why we exist and survive. I remember meeting a farmer a few years ago who used the word “we” to describe her farm, which was confusing as she was the sole owner and didn’t have employees. When I asked her to clarify who “we” was, she explained that while she did farm alone, with occasional help from a friend, the support of her community made it feel like a communal effort.

The core of our community is our customers (and in some cases, their customers). The CSA has always been an important part of that group and continues to be, both from a financial perspective (it’s a huge benefit to know your produce has a home before you even plant it!) and for the valuable human connection that the CSA program provides.

But our community goes far beyond that. We interact all the time with neighbors in the Capay Valley, peer farmers across the country and around the world, suppliers, researchers and cooperative extension, regulators, advocacy organizations, non-profits, and more. There’s also our friends and family, as well as many former employees and interns, some of whom are running their own farms, or have other roles supporting a healthier food system. It’s amazing to think how many people we “touch” in a year, and not just by putting produce on their dinner table, though that alone is an impressive accomplishment.

So, inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to extend a thank you from the CSA team and the rest of Full Belly Farm for your role in our community.

– Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager

A foggy morning last week