May 3, 2012

Cheap Sunglasses and a Book, a Real Book

I mean really. Who knew a cheap pair of sunglasses and a new bike helmet could create this kind of joy. (Or, whatever that is.)

In other news this week, both Jacob and I are published -- like in a book, a real book -- writers.

Our copies of Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement came this week and wowza, I wasn't prepared for how cool and different it would feel to hold a book -- that contains my words -- in my hands. Pretty neat-o.

The book is really gorgeous and well done. Among other great essays, it contains this one, titled "The Value of Our Produce," which I read just as I really started to struggle with this whole how-we-value-food-thing. (I say "started to struggle" because the inner conflict continues to build in me. But, that is a topic for another time.)

Anyway, here's a little gem from that essay, written by Ben James. 
"What is a carrot worth? A bunch of kale? A handful of berries? Too often, I find myself on the tractor making quick calculations in my head. For a bed of carrots, there are the soil amendments, the cover crop last fall, the chicken manure, the organic fertilizer, the plowing, tilling, seeding, irrigating, thinning, weeding, harvesting, washing, bunching, packing, and selling. Plus the cost of the tractors, implements, and fuel. Plus the cost of childcare and preschool. Plus, somehow, all the time spent on the computer (where does that fit in)? And I haven't even mentioned the cost of the land (hundreds of thousands of dollars, in our case). The sheer number of labor hours and material and property costs that went into helping this soil produce these carrots. I ought to shellac the carrots and hang them on the wall."
Sometimes, I feel like shellacking everything we grow.


  1. awesome! my friend sarahlee lawrence, also an EVST grad is in there too, i believe! i guess i'm just gonna have to go buy it:)

  2. Congratulations!!! Very, very cool!! And, I look forward to hearing your 'topic for another time' about your thoughts on how food is valued. Maybe that's something all small farmers struggle with...I know I do.

  3. Can't wait to read the book! I definitely think our society needs to take a look at the whole value of food thing. And fiber too. As I'm spinning some wool I'm thinking I can't sell this skein for more than $18. But the time it took to make the yarn from the raw fleece...geez. Sometimes I wonder why we do this at all!

  4. Wow! Congratulations! I've been talking to my students about advertising and about how we've gone from a producer culture to a consumer culture. They can barely get their heads around the idea that brand names are a relatively new phenomenon and that people used to grow and/or make almost everything for themselves. Good for you for getting back to it. We consumers are beginning to value food grown by people we know -- at least we value the *idea* of it. Now, maybe we'll put our money where our mouths would like to be.

  5. Also, your Willa is just too cute!

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