Have you ever secretly wanted to ride a tractor?
I suspect many of you are like me and find tractors intriguingly cool. I honestly don’t know where the urge comes from. Does it trigger the image of simpler times when farms dotted the landscape; or is it simply a desire to operate heavy machinery? I don’t know, but this little urge goes with the growing desire in many of us to actually grow our own food. The local food movements are sweeping across the nation, and who wouldn’t want to be the cool hostess telling friends at our party that “I toiled and sweated and babied that sweet potato that you are eating in the puree.”
So lets face it, there are many of us who really would like to try our hand at farming. The problem with this is that I have the blackest thumb of anyone I know. My neighbors jokingly say that my house is where plants go to die.
Fear not, there is a way for all of us with these secret yearnings to become "Farmer MacGregor." The answer is something called a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. This is where a farmer (or other qualified individual), allows you to be part of a team working to grow produce on a farm. You get paid in the fruits of your labor (pun intended). Sometimes there is a small fee that helps with the operations, but it's a collective farming operation. The lead farmer doles out assignments and directions, provides equipment (did someone say tractor?) and seeds, and then tells you when its time to harvest and split the agricultural booty. It’s farming for the uninitiated, or untalented in my case.
CSAs can usually be found in rural communities. This gives the double benefit of getting you out of the city. There are even some communities that are creating CSAs within the context of the neighborhood.
So let’s take charge. Let’s go get our hands dirty, sweat under the hot sun, toil over that sweet potato, and of course, find a tractor to ride.