RURAL CEDAR TOWNSHIP— We soil-blocked the rest of the seed trays in the greenhouse yesterday, and planting is well underway at the CSA. My weekly work sessions give me a snapshot of what is a much broader amount of activity in local food production. The experience is paying dividends in understanding the cycle of growth to support the market.
For the first time, I worked in the high tunnel, preparing a bed for planting. High tunnels extend the growing season, producing vegetables for an early or late crop. They also serve to mitigate risk of cool temperatures, and of disease and pests. On a farm, margins mean everything, and high tunnels create an opportunity to increase them. They also create the ability for new customer offerings in the form of a spring or fall share.
My life is richer for working in a limited way on a CSA farm. It is a way of life that survives on the cusp of an agricultural landscape dominated by row crop agriculture. Like the high tunnel, the work is around the margins, and there are plenty of those for local food to be a vital force.