As many of you know, the past year and a half has been full of ebb and flow as we navigate what it takes to be a supplier of fresh food in our area. What began as a baptism by fire has evolved into flames of passion for working the earth and learning as much as I can about organic farming. Each and every person behind the scenes has poured so much love and commitment into understanding the needs of our community and getting the word out that we are willing to do whatever it takes to spark a local food movement in our area.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. For each penny you’ve spent, every hour you’ve shared your energy by volunteering, commending our efforts, every conversation you have created letting people know we are here and especially for dropping by and bringing us goodies! It is the love of all things community that remind us to trudge through the start up challenges and create a vision for a true cooperative effort.
So, in order to fully embrace all that has evolved, we are dropping ‘organics’ at the end of our name. I assure you, though, that our mentality and practices are often ‘better than organic’ when it comes to certification. Our only hurdle is that while seeking support and funding to expand our farm, we want to be transparent in our brand. As we announce our CSA and supply a few local grocery stores, restaurants and catered events, we want to highlight local food rather than our own personal demand for organic practices. After Joel and I attended MOSES (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Services) conference this winter, it is clear to us that the cost and stringency associated with certifying our farm organic is far from our goal of maintaining a small farm to feed 40 local families. It is much more important to us to maintain organic growing practices and educate families in our area without the headaches and excessive fees that come along with being government mandated by a brand that is already being blemished (in my opinion).
Instead, we will spend our energy spearheading a local food movement in what many consider a food desert when it comes to fresh, healthy choices. Currently, a coalition of farmers is developing in our area and we are close to getting a few restaurants on board to promote a seasonal menu where we can actually enjoy going out to eat in our community knowing that we are eating food from local farms following organic standards for raising produce.
In our second season of a CSA program at Grateful Plains, we will spend our summer applying lessons learned from last year to deliver an incredibly abundant farm fresh share for all of our members. There are a few shares yet available, by the way, and we encourage you to join the 2015 Grateful Plains CSA if you have not already! While I was making phone calls to get feedback from local supporters who showed interest, many replied, “I am waiting to see how it goes for so and so”. If everyone ‘wait and sees’, we might not have a 3rd season of our CSA. With only 30 shares available, it really requires a full membership to show any kind of profit. So please, if you are on the fence, hop on into the corral! You’ll be glad you do!!
Occasionally throughout the season, if we have extras, we will make them available at our farm stand in front of the little shop in Grand Ridge. We will make these announcements via newsletter, so be sure you are signed up to receive Our Weekly Gratitude!
A makeover is happening to transform our space in Grand Ridge into a small store by the time we are done in the fields in the fall. In the meantime, please continue to express your wishes as to what you’d like to see available in the store.
I am forever in awe of the grace of transformation. So much has shifted since we began this journey, yet the mission remains constant. And thanks to each of you, Grateful Plains is still in business full steam ahead to connect farms, families and philanthropies to grow our local food movement.