Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Environmental Fair

This weekend I was the host for the Seabreeze Organic Farm CSA (http://www.seabreezed.com/) table at the Encinitas Environmental Fair.
Our day could have been so much better for a few reasons:

  • Somebody else set this entire thing up - luckily I read the Vendor sign up so I could request a tablecloth from the owners. The Vendor sign up also said we had a tent - more on that later!
  • At the farm there was a bag of veggies, postcards and some business cards with NO NAME.
  • There was half a bag of fruit - but it wasn't marked so we weren't sure I should take it.
  • When I got to the fair - somebody forgot to reserve a tent - there I was, with fresh produce and flowers to display and no tent - with the unpredictable sun - that was really a problem. So the owners had to bring me a tent AND the fruit (I really hated having to interrupt their Sunday).
  • I could have sold about 30 CSA subscriptions had there been a sign-up sheet, price list and shareholder agreements.
  • We could have also used a SIGN that said who we were...for about $30.00 they could have a sign made and we'd look much more professional.

So before the tent and the fruit came - this was our table (I brought the apple for my snack - but needed it to hold down the postcards - then people kept touching it - so there was no eating that):

The fair looked awesome, I met some great people, but a great many concerns came into view.

1. People do not understand the true costs of their produce.

Ponder if you will the differences between conventionally grown food vs. organic/chemical free food - yes i said chemical free - this means not even the allowable organic chemicals. Learn more here - http://www.ifoam.org/growing_organic/1_arguments_for_oa/criticisms_misconceptions/misconceptions_no16.html
2. People still believe everything that is told to them, and I mean this from the left - the crazy radical talk - like all tomatoes are gassed to turn red, all chicken farmers cut beaks, there's no such thing as real free range. Or my favorite - all corn is GMO...and my other favorites from the right - what's more sustainable about organic? Isn't it wasteful?
My advice here:

  1. DO NOT buy fresh tomatoes out of season - grow your own - indoor, on your patio, in a topsy turvy - who cares - honestly skip "fresh" tomatoes if you aren't able to grow them at home - and it isn't tomato season.
  2. I love Rainbow Ranch Farms for many reasons - they treat their chickens very well. No clipped beaks and totally free range. Don't buy chickens from the store unless you know of the practices that the farm and the slaughterhouse use - yeah I used that word. Think about it. http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M9885
  3. Yes, GMO corn is everywhere – but there is GMO free corn. In order to cross corn you have to do it somewhat manually or have your field right next or near a GMO field. Corn that is GMO-free and organic is sold by people who mark it clearly. We grow ours in the back yard. Just enough for our use – and YES – corn has a season too…we've had no issues with pests and our corn – so why in the world would you need to modify it? Only because you are growing it unnaturally and therefore the pests are coming to tell you – don't do it this way. We grow ours in the "three sisters" method – beans, squash, corn. Beans fix nitrogen, squash shades the ground and keeps weeds out. You can get three harvests from one plot. Unfortunately, when commercially growing corn you need to use machines to harvest (or do you?) so you'd hurt your other crops…maybe we should think about other ways to harvest?
  4. There's no way that organic farming is wasteful – quite the opposite. Heard some nasty allegations that cover cropping was a waste of a season or something – well not really – you can use it as green manure, livestock feed, etc – then once the livestock is done grazing, you turn it all in and start over…what a way to go…the earth is not stripped, you don't have to put any chemical fertilizers on or anything.
3. People think CSAs are inconvenient, pricey and not local (what?).

I do know that Seabreeze is very economical - and they deliver! If you are trying to shop farmer's markets and other chain stores - especially Whole Foods and Jimbos (local to us). A month of deliveries every week delivery is 250 for a large bag with fruit – you can do every other week as well or a small "gift bag" for $75. That's $65 a week for varied local fruits and veggies with a bouquet of flowers – nice!
4. So many people are incredibly uninformed - but walk around so very proud that they shop at farmer's markets - guess what folks - not all farmers at the farmer's market are organic!

What I totally forgot to mention to people was something awesome that Seabreeze offers: the grow food kit
The complete GrowFoodKit costs $1295 which includes shipping. Please call 858-481-0209 or email us at info@seabreezed.com for questions or to place your order.
I did encounter some lovely people. Unfortunately my demeanor was tainted by the looming stomach bug. I left early. I suffered when I got home. My poor husband had it that morning (3AM); mine started at 3PM, then the 5 year old at 3AM the next morning....