Life’s balance is ever changing, not static. This is a hard concept to accept when society is seemingly based upon fixed systems through which we operate. Over the last couple of years we have really been scaling down and trying to maximize our efficiency to come to a more sustainable way of running a farm with just two people. Now we are finding ourselves in a time where we may need to increase our production outside of our sustainable zone while keeping prices steady, learning news ways of distribution, increasing social media presence to make up for the lack of face to face and offering more donations which will surely be needed.
We are very fortunate in that we have access to lots of land to expand as well as having 10 years of farm experience to guide us in which crops would be best to do this with. Our expansion will be focused on the foods that grow well and with ease on our farm as well as more familiar crops that can easily be donated without lots of explanation on how to best use them. We however feel that our unique vegetables will be heros of imagination during a rather gloomy time; through their vibrant colors, unique tastes, and their stories of many years of survival through seed saving.
Prices will fluctuate in many parts of the economy and for many different reasons. As of right now we feel that our prices shall remain as is, even if our bottom line changes. We have constructed a life that reflects a world we want not necessarily the world that is. This is a personal choice rather than a business choice. We don’t have lines of credit or debit, we don’t own assets and we have support from family, & community when needed < this is what allows us to make a choice many others will not be able to make. Just something to remember as many of us will make different choices going forward depending on what we need.
The need for distribution has grown immensely with all of this which is a bit ironic since farmers in the maritimes have been working at this problem for many years now. We are now being forced to meet a demand for distribution that may have not been there in quite these numbers showing us and customers the value of this. We are still far from a complete solution as farmers are still absorbing lots of these costs that they otherwise wouldn’t be and feeling like the load is becoming heavier with yet another task to manage. Even with all of that I feel grateful to have a semi-solution to the problem instead of just a full on collapse of business.
The hardest new lesson for us will be social media content not because we don’t have lots to share because we do but rather how unnatural it feels. A face to face conversation has a natural point in which it starts and meanders as needed between farmers and customers. Now we will have to share content not really knowing if that is what is needed or if we are answering the billions of different questions people have. There is also the piece of “lost in translation” to consider as people interpret things differently. I, in particular, can have a tone that is opposite to what I am feeling and face to face conversations can leave people clues but not so much on social media. I am sure we will find our way but it is certainly an extra task to take on.
In growing more food to fill a possible need there is a risk of over abundance. At first we thought we should expand our CSA to mitigate this problem but it just didn’t feel right. Just the idea of over abundance as a risk is absurd, the risk is what you do or don’t do with it. So, as of right now we have a four prong approach to managing this.
1.) Any of our CSA customers will be able to request a double share at any time during this season - no questions asked and with no additional charge. 2.) We will be reaching out more heavily to gleaner groups to help us manage the extra work of harvesting and finding a home for veggies we can’t sell. 3.) We will offer more deals of WFM2go from week to week as abundance allows. 4.) Anything we don’t get to in time will be left for seed and collected.
This is something in an ideal world should always be done but are willing to make way for progress this year. Who knows it may become second nature in our production and we may continue on this way but as of right now this will be considered necessary extra work.
All of this is coming on the back of two years of very tough farming (all farms included) and I know this feels like another blow in some ways but as rumi said “ the wound is the place where the light enters you”. I will save the lessons I think we aren’t meant to be learning during this period for another post and just let you ponder your own thoughts for today.