Since reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last winter, I've been excited about supporting local agriculture this year and extending my baby-sized garden. Good stewardship makes sense to me.
The garden is going well. Not everything went exactly as planned (dead cucumbers, spinach, carrots, basil, cilantro...microscopic peppers) but every moment has been an experience of learning and growing for me.
After a late, late spring here I think farmers sighed with relief. June was finally here and planting was almost over. Perhaps that sigh came a little too soon.
The month of June had incredible rain which flooded fields and rivers (swollen with snow) and washed away many farmers best plans. Some can replant but the later it gets in the year the more chancy it is for our cooler/shorter growing season.
With rumbles of a food shortage and price increases this hardly seems like good timing. So what can we really do about this? Probably tighten our belts a bit and use good planning skills, like most of us are doing already with the rise of $4/gallon gas. We can be thankful that things are not much worse for most of us.
But once we've done that we need to look to how we can help others in our community who may be struggling harder than we are. The Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture recommends that we turn out at local Farmer's Markets to support our neighbors as they try to make the most out of what they can produce this year.
True community starts at the grassroots level, not in state bureaus or federal agencies. We create the community we live in. Honestly, I can't think of an easier way to make a positive change then stopping by the Farmer's Market on Thursday and spend $2-4 on new potatoes or peas.