I’m currently sitting in a beautiful little coffee shop, wishing I was outside in the sunshine. Instead, I am chained to the ol’ MacBook, writing cover letters and resumes because in case ya didn’t know.. I’m in need of a job. (Anyone out there looking for a fun and sassy girl to hire for gardening/environmental education/comedic purposes?) I digress..
There’s a board game here called The Farming Game; anybody ever heard of it? I hadn’t and when I did a little research, I found its a 30+ year old brainchild of a Washington state rancher named George Rohrbacker. After several difficult years of harvest, Rohrbacker was the owner of an ailing farm and created this board game to educate folks about the economics and unknowns of running a small farm. Similar to Monopoly, the game’s objective is to raise money by harvesting crops and selling livestock as you move around the board.
As in 1979, it is still very difficult, if not more so, to be the owner of a small farm. The Prince of Wales spoke at Georgetown University today at a conference about the future of food and sustainable agriculture; from the New York Times:
In China and India, soil is being washed away at 40 times the rate at which it can be replenished. And he said that while two billion people were hungry or malnourished, one billion others were overweight or obese.
“It is an increasingly insane picture,” the Prince of Wales said.
He said that organic, locally grown food accounts for only 2 to 3 percent of sales in the United States and Europe because it remains more expensive than food produced by industrial methods. One of the reasons for the huge price discrepancy, he said, is that governments encouraged large-scale corporate farming through a variety of subsidies.
These include direct support like payments to farmers and tariffs on imported agricultural goods and indirect subsidies by not charging for the external costs of such farming methods, like air and water pollution and emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
Food writer Eric Schlosser and environmental legend Wendell Berry also spoke at the conference.. talk about a dream team. Another group of dedicated people that I am so UNBELIEVABLY PSYCHED about is the team over at Fresh & Fancy Farms in New Milford, NJ.
Meg Low is a fantastic gal (and fellow Holy Angels alum, holla) who, with family and friends, has purchased Klinger Farms and is in the process of refurbishing and kickstarting a great new farm:
What we are looking to do is encourage the community to buy local produce, but also inspire them to get together, eat healthy and cook healthy. Moving forward we would like to bring together the community and local businesses to create events, workshops, etc… teaching kids about eating green, how to cook with fresh local herbs, how to plant the prettiest flower boxes on the block. The idea is to create a space for people to be inspired, learn, create, get outside and teach their peers.
Sounds like a WIN to me, Fresh & Fancy! Look for Meg’s guest blog post later this week about the farm and their opening day for Mother’s Day weekend.. get out there and meet your neighbors, get some fresh flowers and love living local, New Jersey!