Hello CSA members!!
Happy New Year! Happy New Decade, for that matter! Personally, this is one of my favorite times of year. A time to reflect on the past year (or 10, if you want to do that to yourself), to think through the good and the bad, and then set the intention on making the next year even better. As the saying goes, farmers are either really optimistic, or just have really short memories, so we are especially susceptible to this kind of thinking!
Looking Back : We are thankful that the past year was another good one for us and the farm (I’m not sure those are indistinguishable anymore). We recovered from some early hail storms to have one of our most productive seasons yet. The carrot yields were extraordinary (did I mention you can still buy them each week at Third Street Market in Whitefish, and at Mountain Valley Foods in Kalispell?) One of the best things to come out of that harvest, in addition to them still being available for purchase, was the partnership with FarmHands to get them into the mouths of school kids through the the Children’s Backpack program, I’m guessing more than 3,000 pounds have been given out so far this year.
Another highlight has been working closely with our friends Brooke and Sean at Wicked Good Produce to help build that business and collaborate in making our Community Food System more robust. Not to mention the formation of Glacier FEAST, our inaugural farm dinner, and our continuing work to also strengthen our Community Food System. So it was definitely a year where we began to look a bit beyond our own farm at ways to collaborate with others to bring more nutritious food into our community.
Looking Forward: You can tell I’m feeling rested, because I enter 2020 more excited than ever to be farming. I really believe that agriculture is at the root of so many issues in our society, which means it’s also at the root of so many of our solutions. And while our government policy is lagging way behind in recognizing this, there are many inspirational farmers around this country doing great things and working at a grassroots level to educate their neighbors to do the same. And I think we’re on the cusp of great change. If you really want to read a super-informative, yet hopeful, book on agriculture, I encourage you to read David Montgomery’s “Growing a Revolution: Bringing our soil back to life”. The take home message, which I find very hopeful, its that the solution to nutritious food, healthy landscapes, improving farmer’s livelihoods, and reducing climate change are all the same solution….and we know what it is and how to do it (not to spoil it, but it’s Conservation Agriculture). So, we have the answer….we just lack the corporate, political and social will to enact the necessary change….but that seems to be changing, and consumers are playing a large part! If we can get the USDA to rethink crop insurance, we’d be well on our way. Maybe this is the decade it happens!
Here at the farm, we are working on ways to improve our soil, grow our own compost, and reduce our tillage while at the same time getting more nutritious food into our community, bringing beauty to the farm, and improving habitat. We have a great new crop of employees coming in for the next season, and we’re excited about the growing season. And we are looking to continue using the farm as a platform to educate and collaborate with others.
CSA Signup: As is always the case, the ringing in of the New Year also means the start of CSA signup for 2020! Rebecca is hard a work updating all the information on the website (I can hear her cursing in the next room), so once the mental cobwebs clear up tomorrow, go to twobearfarm.com and get signed up! If you already have an existing membership, please try to find it and sign up through it rather than creating a new one. Please remember to use the code “earlybird” when signing up to get your discount (until March 15th). Also, please carefully read the “member agreement” during checkout. The only major change this year has to do with West and East Glacier shares. In order to reduce the number of trucks on the road and make things a bit more financially feasible, we have made an agreement with Wicked Good Produce to have them deliver to our wholesale markets in Glacier as well as to drop off our CSA shares in West Glacier. It’s an exciting partnership, however, to make that work, we need to move the pickup day from Wednesday to Thursday afternoon. In addition, due to the labor and mileage of that delivery, we have added a 5% delivery fee onto the Glacier shares, which I think spreads the cost more equitably among CSA members. All the details will be visible online during signup.
Well, Happy New Year everyone! Thank you again for all of your support over the years, and here’s looking at 2020! Turn off the news, and let’s improve our community in any way we can!
Todd & Rebecca