2014 Summer Basket #8

Basket contents: Lettuce, beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, asian greens, choice of tomatillos, okra or chard, choice of potatoes or broccoli, melon.

Recipe of the week: Orzo with Swiss Chard

 In this week’s newsletter we’ll give some farm updates, as well as introduce you to the work of Via Campesina, the inspiring transnational small farmers’ movement.

 News from the farm

 It’s August, and that is felt everywhere on the farm. Heather just finished what might turn out to be the last weeding of the year. There was almost nothing planted in the fields this week (except for a small amount of cilantro you can look forward to eating in 4-5 weeks!) and nothing at all seeded in the greenhouse for later weeks. Our pond is drying up at a frightening pace- swimming time is over, but hopefully we will be able to continue irrigating for a few weeks still…

The calves have moved to greener pastures behind the house and are munching away happily, while the pigs continue to till the patches we’re hoping to fill with berries this fall and next spring. Sadly, the turkeys are struggling, and we’ve lost over half of the birds we started with. We’re not sure why they drop-out so suddenly- they all seem in good health and show no signs of sickness until it’s too late. But this is the first year we’ve tried to raise turkeys, so it makes sense we still have some things to learn, and the small adjustments we’ve made to their set-up seem to have made a positive difference.

In other sad news, the raccoons have found our melon patch and have happily gobbled up more over 3/4 of our cantaloupes so far. They’re in the sweet corn as well, although they’ve only gotten about 10% to date. At least they do a really good job of eating the entire fruit, scraping the peel dry, and not wasting any! Heather just covered the remaining melons with an agro-textile, spread coyote urine around the patch and will place a trap tonight in defense of your precious melons. All that being said, you’ll still get a melon in your basket this week, but please take the time to savour it, because they were hard fought and there sadly may not be too many more…

And remember the skillshare is this weekend! Thanks to everyone who has proposed a workshop, thanks to you we have been able to put together quite a fantastic program! And of course, we hope it is clear that you don’t at all need to propose a workshop to join us this weekend- we need people to fill the workshops as well!  RSVP if you plan to come and especially if you can provide lifts for others.

 Via Campesina

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of La Via Campesina, it’s worth checking them out! La Via Campesina is a major transnational agrarian movement that has grown over its 20 year history and now includes 148 organizations from 73 countries and represents 200 million farmers. It was formally constituted in 1993 just before the final round of negotiations that for the first time included agriculture in the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and has since been fighting to defend food sovereignty as a basic human right and an agriculture based on peasant small-scale production, using local resources and geared to meet local needs, very different from the globalized, neoliberal corporate-driven model of food production that is becoming more and more prominent across the world.

La Via Campesina also recognizes the layers of oppression that exist which bar women, people of colour, peasants, illiterate and other groups from accessing power, and works to create spaces in the international scene for these voices to be heard.

We here at the farm support their work, for it ties us to other farmers from all parts of the world who share many of the same goals as us, and are faced with many of the same challenges, albeit affected in different ways. For more information on their current campaigns and how to get involved: http://www.viacampesina.org/en/