Here's a list that we've been steadily adding to: THINGS WE NEED!
We'd much rather recycle/reuse/repurpose not only to close the manufacturing loop but to keep costs down.
Maybe you have some of these things laying around, not being used. Maybe you know where we might find them cheap! Also welcoming creative ideas for easy, inexpensive, substitutions (greenhouse tables!)
The list is segmented into household/more common items on the left and bigger ticket items on the right.
Send us an email if you can help :)
Our generation of farmers is filled with folks (like us) who didn’t grow up on farms. A few of our friends are taking over family farms, but there are many others who grew up in the burbs or the city and found farming as a way of life. Because of this, as a group, we are landless peasants in search of places to grow. I have many farmer friends who have either bought old (often dilapidated) farms or taken over existing operations as I did at Snipes in 2009. In either case these old farms usually come with trash and/or treasure from the preceding growers.
Amongst the trash at Snipes (including a greenhouse filled with broken plastic easter eggs..what?) there was some treasure. A recently dissolved garden center left a plethora of useful tools at our disposal. Greenhouses, tractors and many other tools lightened our financial burden those first few years and continue to aid the Snipes Farm and Education Center today.
As for Love Grows, this year Ailsa and I are starting from scratch in most ways and some amenities do not have easily affordable/portable solutions (since tenure is tenuous- a topic for another post). Neither of us enjoys buying things. Usually a dark cloud of consumer guilt follows us around any store we find ourselves in and all the way home, even if we are making a necessary purchase. But consumerism is yet another a topic for another post.
Almost every day we ponder a solution for greenhouse tables. In years past we have been lucky to work off of Benchmaster-style tables (vestiges of the former garden center) intended for our specific purposes. That means we can keep our seed flats at waist-height (a real back-saver when dealing with needy seedlings), level (for watering), and away from pests. One of these 8’x4’ greenhouse tables costs around $100, which wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t need 40 of them to fill our propagation house!
The sunny side is we still can make do with alternatives. Our ever-thoughtful friend Beep (not a typo) pointed us to a set of old fences sitting in the “to be burned” pile of wood here on the farm. So this week we started cutting the pickets off these relics and tonight our very first seedlings are resting peacefully atop them.
So for now we’re going to put the old adage to the the test, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!” Thanks for reading!
Hi all! Ailsa here.
Wow. It took me a while to find a time to write this. We have lots of irons in the fire around this time.
It seems like ages ago now, but we only decided to start the CSA around Christmas. January 31 was our deadline to ditch it, but by then we had a website.
Right now we have much more to do than you would imagine for farmers in February. Actually, it hit me again today that we have to really get in gear. Aside from setting up a business legally and financially, we still have equipment and supplies to find/purchase, storage/work spaces to prep, etc!
And then there's the quest for new CSA members! Over the past month or so I've met a lot of folks who don't know what a CSA is, and the bubble I've lived in for the past couple years has popped. I'm figuring out how to explain the importance of good food and sustainable agriculture to people (while essentially trying to sell this food and lifestyle).
As a critic of capitalism and a general skeptic, this partial transformation into a salesperson has been pretty weird for me. I have to keep reminding myself that farming is an honest and modest living; I'm not asking people to pay $695 for a share so that I can buy a new...well, anything. Basically I'd like to keep my '92 Ford Ranger running, pay for a place to live, and soon save some money for the time when my body gives out after many years in the field. Those are the short-term goals.
The long-term, over-arching goals are comforting because this work that we undertake goes beyond us. It does not exploit people or places for unnecessary gain. We want to treat the land well so that we can be well and make it easier for others to be well also. That's not to say that I find it otherwise thankless; I love planting, weeding, harvesting, and EATING.
So, I'm going to stop musing for now and join Brad, who is working on field plans! Yes!