Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"The Real World" Grassroots Edition

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.

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"Our farmer". It is fun to be able to say those words.  

Like many in the US I am 2-3 generations removed from farming, at least on my mother's side.  On my father's I believe it is much more than that.  My maternal grandfather did grow up on a farm.  My mother has memories of visiting her grandparents over the summer and watching her grandfather stomp on the head of a chicken and her grandmother cleaning and cooking it for dinner.

But those are not my memories. The majority of my childhood memories are from the 1980's... an era of microwave cooking, margarine, and refrigerator biscuits. My father was and is still a hunter so I was never completely ignorant when it came to the origins of food, but I didn't really grasp the difference between "whole" or "real" foods and the concoctions that were showing up in kitchens all over the country.

My confession... when I was first on my own I thought that "real cooking" meant hamburger helper - because, you know, you cooked it on the stove and started with raw meat ;-).  My rather steep learning curve started with a diagnosis of gluten intolerance in one of my older children and it has been a wild journey.  I can't fully retrace the steps as it has been over a decade, but needless to say I have a much firmer grasp of what La Leche League means by "a variety of foods in as close to their natural state as possible".

At some point several years ago I became interested in raw milk and went looking for something local and that is where we found "our farmer".  We are in one of the fortunate states where we can simply purchase raw milk directly from a farmer (many folks don't have that kind of food rights as witnessed here, here, and here).  Not only do we drive by the cows which supply our milk, we have to honk at our laying chickens to get out of the way in order to park.  If we choose we have access to grass fed, well cared-for beef, pork, chicken, and lamb.  Even cooler (in my mind) is that "our farmer" is a she!  I love the opportunity to expose, particularly the young, children to adults in non gender-normative professions.  Additionally she knows us.  She can and has put things aside for us when supplies were running low.  During the slower production times she works with her families to help folks get what they want, keeping in mind everyone's needs.  For me that offers a wonderful feeling of food security.  Whole Foods doesn't care if I get my groceries, other than the fact that it keeps them in business.  Nor do the producers of that food watch my children run around chasing the chickens - but "our farmer" knows that our safety is in her hands.  And my family knows that our health is directly connected to the health of the animals and land.

So this is my thank you to "our farmer" and all of the farmers out there running family farms, CSAs, and the like.  I know that most sustainable farmers receive very little in the way of subsidies and support, particularly when compared to the factory farms, sparking my gratitude to run all the more deep.  Thank you for keeping it real.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

6 comments:

Momma Jorje said...

This is so cool! Going to a Farmer Market is one thing, but to actually have a relationship with your farmer sounds so awesome. It makes me think of times when people knew their banker, their butcher, their milk man, etc. And what an amazing opportunity for learning. Awesome, thanks for sharing!

Laura said...

I have a relationship like this with our butcher and I love it! It's so comforting to know the details of your food sources and know that you can truly enjoy your meal! And I love the title, by the way :)

Emily said...

That is so awesome! It's such a privilege to get to know our farmers personally. We recently went to a local farm to buy meat and it was a wonderful experience and something I expect will impact my daughter as she gets older!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I want to meet your farmer!! Can we go with you sometime? :)

Justine said...

"Our farmer" is a woman too. She is the hardest working person I know and gives us a long monthly update on what's happening at the farm. I know the names and ages of her kids and have chatted with her on all manner of subjects, not just relating to the food she provides us. It's wonderful that you get to have such a close relationship with a farmer. It does seem to be a rarity these days, but I hope stories like yours will inspire others to get to know their farmers.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love that you have a farmer! It's wonderful that you have that sort of relationship, and I really appreciate the point that seeing a woman as a hard-working farmer is so enlightening for kids.