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Blog - What's Happening on the Farm

News and blog

Devon Point Farm's BLOG
Posted 6/21/2011 10:33pm by Sara Katz, Apprentice.

Why Local?
an essay by Apprentice, Sara Katz

At Devon Point Farm, apprentices are doing more than just learning the mechanics of farming. Apprentices are exposed to the inner workings of the farm and are taught how to make a farm not only environmentally sustainable but also economically sustainable. Whether while weeding and planting together, or having dinner-table discussions, we have open dialogues about different issues relating to farming on a daily basis. This summer we hope to share some thoughts with you through a series of essays written by Devon Point Farm apprentices.


As more of our food production shifts overseas we become increasingly beholden to oil and other forms of energy. With the majority of our food coming from a foreign place, on average from somewhere 1,500 miles away, we know less than ever before about how our food is produced. When we walk into the grocery store we treat food as a product removed from human production, an approach that is sadly passed on to the next generation. As our food source moves further and further away from local farms in the United States, there is more confusion around where food actually comes from and how it can be grown.

There are many reasons to return to local farming. Energy consumption is reduced since your food has fewer miles to travel from where it’s grown to your home, there are no fossil fuels necessary for the production and dispersal of pesticides and there is less industrialized farm machinery eating up fuel. The nutrition content of local food is higher since the food is grown without chemicals, picked at the height of ripeness, and delivered to the consumer often within a day of harvesting, rather than being picked unripe, shipped for days or weeks, then ripened with ethylene gas before being put on the grocery shelf at the supermarket. The money spent at your local farm stays in the community rather than being divided between many intermediaries and contributing to questionable labor practices. And, perhaps most importantly, the availability of food for a community can be secured.

By supporting your local farm, such as Devon Point Farm, you ensure both the knowledge of where your food comes from as well as guarantee the ability to supply food to your family. Children who are raised in families that support local farms are able to see firsthand where food comes from, and in turn, can develop a greater appreciation for fresh local produce as well as fundamental knowledge of how vegetables are grown. Through CSA pick-ups of weekly produce over the season, a relationship is created between the farmer and consumer ensuring the production of food is transparent and renewable. Devon Point Farm, like many other small farms, supports genetic diversity of vegetables. Through using heirloom varieties, we ensure the protection of different varietals of produce and help support small companies like Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Harris Seeds to preserve biodiversity of crops.

The food dollars spent at Devon Point Farm are put directly into ensuring the highest food quality and sustaining the local community. As the cost of oil rises and oil reserves are consumed so rapidly, the cost of food will only continue to increase more than we have witnessed in the past year. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has said that food prices are the highest they have been in the past 20 years.  Oxfam recently released a report saying that food prices are most likely going to double by 2030.  In 2008, now three years ago, one in seven Americans went hungry, that’s 49 million people or 14.6% of U.S. households.  While these statistics may be bleak, they do not yet signify game over. While buying local does not secure the future of local clean water sources or protect massive expanses of wildlife habitats, by supporting Devon Point Farm, you are securing the future of food for your family.

 1 “FAO Food Price Index“ UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. <http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/>
2  “Growing A Better Future” Oxfam. <http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cr-growing-better-future-170611-summ-en.pdf>
3  “1 in 7 American went hungry in 2008.” CBS. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/16/national/main5673056.shtml>

About Apprentice, Sara Katz...

                    

Sara Katz will be going into her sophomore year at NYU, majoring in environmental studies. While in New York City, Sara was the Sustainability Programming intern at The Times Square, the largest permanent supportive housing project in the nation, starting a CSA program for the tenants as well as running environmentally themed programs. Sara grew up in Princeton, NJ where she was an honor roll high school student. During her senior year she worked at "greendesign", a retail store that sold only sustainably produced products. She is very interested in the environmental aspects of food production and the concept of food justice--healthy food being a fundamental right. Her hobbies include cooking, activism, climbing, environmentalism, volleyball, music and knitting.