I saw this movie recently called “The Real Dirt On Farmer John.” It’s the story of a maybe eccentric (maybe just a regular, slightly wacky boomer, i.e. kindred spirit) who took his legacy, the family farm in Illinois, on a journey from traditional farm, to a hippie haven in the sixties, to a big, fat money-loser in the eighties, to a what is now a fantastic, thriving model for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
This movie is worth seeing. Whether or not you respond to his personal story, it’s tough to argue with John’s mission: he’s the Al Gore of farming.
In a nutshell, what he’s got is a farm supported by shareholders (regular people in the community) who pay a yearly fee to receive the bounty of John’s all-organic harvest. Each week, at pickup points around the Chicago area, shareholder families get boxes of whatever’s growing that season. And if they really want to get involved, they can go to the farm themselves and pitch in, show the kids where their food comes from and dig in the dirt a little.
Since I have a poor attitude about entering a grocery store, I find the idea of somebody delivering a box of lovely organic vegetables on a weekly basis very appealing. Luckily, just as I was thinking I’d move to Chicago to avail myself of this new approach to food supply, I heard about a similar farm in the Los Angeles area called Tierra Miguel Foundation Farm. I am signing right up. Although it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get my teenagers to go with me to visit the farm (they have issues with vegetables), I might go myself, just to see what it’s all about.