Stories of Farms and Food - A Book Recommendation March 22 2017
The books I’ll share in this series focus on the myriad aspects of our industrial food system and on those many who are creating sustainable alternatives to it. Becoming more aware of both our industrial food system and the alternatives might just nudge all of us to ask ourselves how we spend our food dollars and live our lives.
This first book I recommend is Kayann Short’s beautifully evocative ecobiography, A Bushel’s Worth.
In it she shares a collection of short essays on her memories of her grandparents’ farms in North Dakota and reflects on her life as a farmer, writer, teacher, and activist in Boulder County. She and her husband, John, co-own Stonebridge Farm, a 10-acre organic farm that they farm to provide food for themselves and their CSA members. They’re also building community and soil, and call it “generative” farming, the kind that takes time and requires skill to grow wholesome food and then to prepare that food.
A Bushel’s Worth pulls us into nature’s cycle and the rhythm of farm life. We read that the generative work of growing food for their CSA members traces its roots to the teikei concept developed in Japan in the devastation left at the end of WWII. Women consumers approached farmers to grow crops specifically and personally for them to ensure food safety and security. Teikei means “putting a farmer’s face on food.” Some forty years later in 1985, farmer Robyn Van En at Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts gave the name “Community Supported Agriculture” to the teikei concept. And it turns out this history is a bit controversial – see below!
Have a read if you can. There’s a lot to enjoy.
And for another intriguing account of the origin of Community Supported Agriculture, check out this link.