In 2011, I decided to require 10 volunteer hours, as part of my Farm Share (CSA). I knew that this was a pretty bold move, and it would scare most folks away from joining me. But, I really had a reason for my madness. Let me explain.
We had just moved to the valley that winter and I was finally able to take the education part of what I had always done to a new level, a hands on level. After doing farmer’s markets for 10 years and connecting with people who felt it was important to support local. I really wanted take that farther and connect folks back to the down and dirty part of food. Choices are made daily about what kinds of food we feed ourselves, and our families. These choices are based on labels to better help us decide what methods are used to produce our foods. I wanted to show people just what we were doing, and how hard that work is to produce the foods consumed.
Yes, there is ALWAYS work to be done here, and there are only so many hours in a day to get it done. But getting the physical help here is really not what my volunteer hours are about. It’s about taking the time. It’s about finding the quite of the valley, the food life cycle, and connecting with me. It’s about little ones looking forward to coming and watching all the animals and finding bugs and looking forward to coming back. And it’s about you slowing down, and learning by actually seeing the reasons for the practices used to produce the food consumed.
10 volunteer hours over the course of 6 months, is really only about 30mins each time you pick up. But the thing is, as a farmer I wear many hats, I don’t always excel in all the jobs I do but they are things that need done, nonetheless. So while I produce the food, there are things that you do that come more natural to you and that provides an opportunity to share knowledge and thus an option for volunteering that is not a physical job for someone not able to do a lot of physical work!
Don’t let the volunteer hours scare you away from joining my farm share, because I even offer a buy out, if life happens. In a world where transparency is rarely offered, isn’t it nice to know if you are a part of our farm share it’s exactly what you’ll get, because you are part of it.