CSA Newsletter #11 – September 7, 2012

Contents of Share This Week

  • summer squash and/or zucchini (3-5)
  • cucumbers (5-7)
  • heirloom tomato mix (lots) – Some are yellow, red, and even green.  All are ripe.
  • carrots  (1 bunch)
  • beets (1 bunch) – the greens are good for cooking in case you don’t have enough food.
  • Red Russian kale (1 bunch)
  • summer lettuce mix lettuce (1-2 heads)
  • string bean medley, yellow and green (1/2 pound)
  • radishes (1 bunch)
  • leeks (1 bunch)
  • dozen eggs or sprouts (french lentil, sunflower seed, mung bean)

Announcements

  • Eggs this week for those for you that get eggs with your share.
  • Please return your boxes, egg cartons, and clean, clear plastic bags. Thank you so much!
  • Remember that you are always welcome to visit socially and/or to volunteer. Give a call to schedule a time.
  • All of our newsletters are archived on our website http://www.soulfirefarm.com/?cat=3
  • ONLY A FEW LEFT until next time.  Pasture raised, whole chickens for sale (around 5 lbs). Order here.

Food Justice – Truly Democratizing the Food System!

Some big topics that put the substance behind why we do this, and why many of you choose to support local farmers, and Soul Fire Farm in particular. This is the first in an abbreviated series about our motivation for doing the work we do at Soul Fire.

Henry Kissinger said: Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.

Vandana Shiva said: Whoever controls the food system controls democracy.

Malcom X said: Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality.

We take these above quotes very seriously at Soul Fire.  One of our core motivations for doing the work we do is to encourage and support proper representation in the food system by people of color.  American farmers represent less than 3% of the population, and less than 1% of American farmers are black.  Since 1920, the number of black farmers has dropped from 14% of the farming population, working 16 million acres.  Now that small 1% of black farmers works .003% of the cultivated farmland.  Yes, that number is correct.  This is staggering.

For a further read on this http://frugivoremag.com/2011/07/the-disappearance-of-black-farmers/ or for the USDA report http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/rr194.pdf

Simultaneouly, the corporate control of the food system has further diminished a democratic food system, and instead created a consolidated system reliant on huge fossil fuel inputs, and straying far ethics based in quality of food and health of consumers.  Some quick facts:

  • Four corporations, led by Walmart, control more than half of grocery sales. Walmart alone gets more than one quarter of every grocery dollar spent in the U.S.
  • Three companies — Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta — own 47 percent of the world’s seeds. And they own 65 percent of the global proprietary maize market.
  • Just four corporations control more than 80 percent of all our meat supply.
  • According to USDA statistics, America loses more than 17,000 farmers a year — one every half an hour.

We address creating a democratic food system in two concrete way: (1) Our CSA is the only in the capital region that accepts food stamps, allowing us to share our food with a part of the population that is typically far underrepresented in the “good food movement” or the “local foods movement”.  Look for future writings on the resulting health inequalities in poor and communities of color.  (2) Our internship program is focused on people of color and women, as well as creating a safe and supportive nurturing space for such.

There is no such thing as “they”.  We are all in this together, and yet there are invisible walls that culture, race, and politics put up to make believe there is always the “other”.  Soul Fire Farm does not exist to alleviate hunger and get food to everyone.  We are working to help realize people’s basic human right to eating the best food, and have a connection to land.

Recipes

Raw kale salad with creamy tahini miso dressing

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Sea salt
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 4 to 6 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (preferably black sesame seeds, regular white are fine)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • big pinch red pepper flakes
  • small handful chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup water
  • dash of tamari or soy sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stem and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife or your hands to chop or tear the kale into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and vigorously massage the leaves for a couple of minutes.
  2. In a small bowl or 8-ounce mason jar, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients. Divide the kale into two bowls, drizzle in the salad dressing (don’t skimp), and toss thoroughly. If possible, let the salads rest for ten minutes before eating.
  3. Peel and slice the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, score the flesh with a knife and scoop it out with a big spoon. Top the salad with carrot ribbons, diced avocado and some chopped carrot greens, if available/desired. Sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds and serve.

News on the Farm

This short week had no shortage of happenings on the farm.  With planting done for the year, we shift our focus to infrastructure and planning (once again).  We started greenhouse construction, though it doesn’t look like a greenhouse yet.  Just a large pile of 15 foot hoops.  We also fixed up the laying hens’ coops so they are living in style more than ever and ready for the colder weather.  And Jonah is near completion on building some pretty sweet shelves in the cooler.

Interns Dane and Sindhu are working on a series of projects, including a perennial fruits, herb and mushroom expansion plans, pest control best practices, and a display board for events.  Good to have a few projects for those super rainy days when we cant muster enough gusto to have wet socks all day.

We also know its late in the season because there will be sugar snap peas in your share next week, and cabbages before too long.  And maybe even more importantly, we note the absence of Emet and Neshima at our morning meetings, having returned to school after their amazing summers.  And wish you all a good start to the school year if that’s in your lives.