Monday, November 16, 2009

Post-Season Thoughts & Happenings

CSA distribution ended 2 and 1/2 weeks ago.

And while I probably should be lying on the couch watching movies & drinking tea, I'm actually still working almost every day! There's clean-up: both the shed & greenhouse need to be de-plasticked (for the snow load & we need to replace the old plastic anyway), so everything has to come out & be put in storage. I have to put all the equipment away, and store the tractors in my neighbor's barn. Then there's all the irrigation & row cover left in the field that needs to be rolled up... I built this pretty fun roller-thing that easily winds up the material onto spools for storing & using next year. If we left the drip tape in the field the mice & voles would chew it to pieces.

I mowed across the street, since landowner Bob was concerned about the small trees growing up in it. It hasn't been worked up in a while, there's blackberry brambles & twig dogwoods & cottonwoods. We probably won't need to farm there next year, as I have plenty of land on the other side, next to our fields from this year. The land is nice, though, with a 3-acre chunk next to McMahon Road, and a pie-shaped several-acre piece in the back, bordering the railroad tracks & the glaring white fence of the housing development. I'm sure the developers would love to get their hands on this parcel... you could make a lot of money building houses on that field. Right now there are thousands of rabbits, mice, voles, hawks, snakes, toads, groundhogs, and deer living rent-free on the lot. If only they could come up with the cash.

I wonder sometimes about how many acres one person requires to eat from. For vegetables on Mud Creek Farm, I calculate that each person needs about 700 square feet, or a 25'x25' box for their "season allotment" of all the veggies they can eat. If we include planting for the other half of the year (winter storage crops: roots, squash, hardy greens, etc.) lets double that to 1400 square feet, or 38'x38'. And no one can eat only vegetables: we need to include grain, meat, dairy, oil, fruit, etc. The land required is a lot less for vegetarians. I'm not sure what those calculations would work out to be, but I'm sure there's been studies. In any case, when new housing developments go up, I look at all those houses & think about where those people are going to get their food. If we cover all the fertile fields around us with roads, driveways, mansions, apartment buildings, parking lots, shopping centers, & drive-through fast food outlets, we'll have to continue to go further out into the country to get our nourishment.

It's true that there is a lot of land in upstate New York. But fuel prices will make it more expensive to transport that food into cities. And a lot of the land in New York state is forested, providing habitat for many critters-- including the endandered Eastern Cougar, and others (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/263.html) that I believe have every right to inhabit, & eat from, this land too. So let's keep agriculture close to home, and leave the land too far away to the bears & the bobcats.

A good way to do this is to make sure that your diet includes as many local products as you can manage. Besides vegetables from Mud Creek Farm, you could buy flour & bread made from wheat grown in Palmyra. You could buy bacon & eggs from Branchport, honey from Bloomfield, fruit from Barker, black beans from Ithaca, chicken from Livonia, cheese from Aurora, sausage from Avon. And you can't buy these things in the grocery store.

All these vendors will be at the new winter farmer's market in Brighton:

Tuesdays, 4-7 pm

1900 Westfall Road, Rochester 14618

Atonement Lutheran Church

I'll be there selling what's left of the vegetable harvest & helping Luke out at the Small World Bakery stand. Come sample our 13 varieties of hot sauce! Buy some granola, brownies, or date bars.
See you there!

1 comment:

floridabamboo said...

Cheers for a great season.

One neat example of land area needed to feed people was the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona, the one which sealed 8 people in an enclosed ecosystem for two years.

They had an intensive ag area, and some animals (chickens and milk goats, I think), and they managed to feed the 8 people plus animals from half an acre. So that's sixteen people per acre.