Food anD SUSTAINABILITY
Volunteering at Cure Organic Farm
Beth Mongold, 1 Act a Day founding member
1 Act has several members who are passionate about local food, so we decided to volunteer at Cure Organic Farm in Boulder, CO. Our group joined their regular Thursday morning volunteer crew to plant squash seeds and do some weeding.
Spending a half day on a farm really makes you appreciate how much goes into growing food. It was repetitive, physically challenging work that had to happen no matter what the weather was doing. But there was a palpable pleasure in working side by side with others, reaching down again and again to place a small cluster of seeds in each small divet on the soil; a true satisfaction to looking at a freshly weeded bed of greenhouse peppers. It made me want to return to see how things would progress, to know the outcome of our labor.
When you go to the grocery store, most or all of the produce sold has been shipped from somewhere else. It’s a very odd system—Colorado grows a lot of commodity crops that get exported, and then we import all our produce. The food we are eating has traveled many miles over many days, and can’t even compare to eating a snap pea right off the vine.
Some thought leaders are making a case that this system may not work very well in the future. Climate change is altering the viability of some of the main growing areas that the entire USA depends on—California and Mexico. There is a movement towards localizing the food supply for several main reasons:
Health—food that has been grown locally tens to have a higher nutrient value
Food security—a community that can feed itself is not dependent on a complex web of transportation and suppliers, therefore more secure
Connection with the earth itself—being a part of the process of growing food through the whole cycle gives a sense of place and rootedness
At the end of our day on Cure Farm, we all got to take home some greens, cherries, and a few other veggies. Very sweet rewards indeed.
Things you can do
1) Participate in a CSA program in your area. This is Community Supported Agriculture which lets you purchase a share in a local farm and get the bounty from that harvest.
2) Shop at your local farmers market.
3) Ask your grocer to carry locally grown food and products.
4) Invest in local food initiatives and businesses.
5) Grow your own food--create a garden in your backyard, get a plot in a community garden, or grow in pots.
Resources to learn more
Find a CSA in your area at Local Harvest.
Local Food Shift is an online and print magazine loaded with information and great articles by thought leaders.
Sign the Declaration of Local Food Independence.
Read Rebuilding the Local Foodshed by Philip Ackerman-Leist.
Slow Money is a movement that catalyzes the flow of capital to local food systems-get involved!
There are an infinite number of websites and books that demonstrate how to grow your own organic garden, from small projects in pots to large home gardens. Start googling!