Coonamessett Farm

February 12, 2008
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February 12, 2008

Hi Folks,

 First thing, before I forget, the mailing for the 2008 membership will go out this week. If you do not receive a letter pleading for money in the mail, please let me know. Secondly, we need an old top loading washing machine for spin drying salad mix. If anyone has one they would like to get rid of let us know. We will pick it up and provide a free farm membership as a thank you bonus.  Thirdly, we are looking to hire two people; a full time farm manager and a part or full time store/café person. Please let people know who might be interested. 

In my last email I talked a little about oil and food production. I know most of our farm members have a growing awareness of the issues. However, I spent this last week fighting over fisheries and farming issues with what Phil Williams terms Ecological Fundamentalists. These are people that feel that the best ecosystems are ones that function without humans; that humans should play no role in the environment. Well that may be good in theory, but hello, there are 6 billion of us here, and we are hungry. 

So I decided to write a letter to the editor but since I am the only editor that doesn’t edit my stuff I decided to email instead to solicit your opinions. I beg you indulgence again for bringing up the same subject but I have to get this issue off my chest; I got up in the middle of the night and wrote this thing: 

Dear Editor, 

The Ecological Fundamentalists still don’t get it; it’s about food. We take our food supply for granted but this will change. Our current food production system uses as much oil as all our transportation needs. A major paradigm shift on how and where food is grown is only a few years away. As a community, we should start making adjustments now and not when it is too late.  

Peak oil is coming, if it is not already here. This means liquid petroleum production will start a downward trend while demand continues to grow. Biofuels will need to fill the gap. The vast intact acreage of the Mid-west will go into fuel crops to meet the world’s liquid fuel needs; grasses converted into fuel stock.  We may have to return to the way it was before petroleum upset the balance of nature. Local organic, as opposed to fuel intensive organic, completes the circle of life. Petroleum-free agriculture is labor intensive. One estimate talks about the need for 50 million farmers in the US. 

Our community should view this as an opportunity. We should start producing most of our food locally, using local inputs, at the same time we deal with our other needs. We can even address our nutrient loading issues by converting the excess nutrients to food. We need to take our biological trash stream and covert it into nutrients and fuel; the fuel to grow food. All new construction should have composting toilets.  When homeowners have to take domestically generated compost, and work it into the back yard garden, they will have to think about the drugs that they put into their bodies. The added benefit; a decrease in the use of those drugs will avoid negative impacts on the reproduction cycle of coastal and fresh water fish species.  

We need to start to harvest our renewable energy supply; our Community is rich in wind, solar and tidal current. We can also use farms to educate our children and in turn receive their labor in payment. A little Jeffersonian democracy never hurt anyone. Jefferson felt that the yeoman farmer best exemplified virtue and independence from corrupting city influences; that government policy should be for his benefit. Ah, the good old days. 

Finally, our conservation lands need to produce crops; that is the ultimate in ecological balance given the size of the human population. Man is part of nature; something the Eco-Fundamentalists refuse to accept. Hence, we have their idea of taking productive bog and turning into swamp to exclude people. 

This brings us to cranberries. Falmouth found some farmers that are willing to work with the Community to farm the Town-owned bogs organically and the Eco-Fundamentalists are not willing to work with them. These farmers want to work with the community, to go where few have ventured before (large-scale organic cranberry production), and the ConCom wants a complete road map of this new territory, plus add enough restrictions so there is no chance of economic success. No profit- no sustainability!  

Without the bogs in production, the Community will have to pay the costs of maintaining vast acreage of low value to the Community. A small patch of forest or swamp between large sub-divisions supporting a few invasive plant and animal species will be of low value to our Community in the near future. A river full of fish is of high value and there are many ways to achieve that goal without massive losses of farm land; especially when the grower has shown interest in exploring large scale organic farming. The Eco-Fundamentalists should go back to their Eco-Madrassas in Cambridge and Berkeley and contemplate where their food will be coming from in the future. For myself, I have some planting to do. 

Not too bad for 3:00 AM