Last year, the Examiner participated in a local CSA work share at Blackberry Meadows Farm. Curious about the ins and outs of farming for the community, we signed up for a weekly, four hour shift that spanned the growing season.
As a CSA work share employee, you purchase a share of produce in the early spring, earning your money back by working one day a week. At the end of the season, you will have been paid for your subscription, as well as received a weekly share of organic produce.
The Examiner purposely chose Blackberry Meadows for our work share experience in order to protect our health and well-being from any adverse effects of chemical farming. You may pay a little more for an organic produce share, due to the expense of increased manual labor and organic farm inputs, such as heirloom seed; but then, as a society, you don’t pay extra money for health insurance or big, environmental clean-ups of our shared water and soil resources after the chemicals of conventional farming over-pollute.
At Blackberry Meadows, the Examiner not only discovered the immediate, delightfully raw correlation between working and eating, but other, hidden benefits cropped up along the work share way.
Our goal was to learn what it takes to move a huge number of wholesome calories off the farm and to the market. We had no idea we were also about to receive a farm vacation. Our work share included: an early morning intimacy with the outdoors, a four hour break from the stress of modern-day hurrying, the opportunity to get lost in our thoughts while methodically using our hands, the joy of being around farm animals that entertained us with their happy, frolicking ways, and the round-table style lunch – full of good food and stimulating conversation – eaten together at the farmhouse after every work session.
In these four articles, we would like to share just a small journal entry from the very first day we spent at Blackberry Meadows Farm as work share employees. We hope this tiny slice of farming life reveals enough of a window about the personal joys of physical farm work; the peaceful pace and tactile enjoyment of working with your hands; the amazing variety of friendships you have the opportunity to form; and the sheer joy that comes from doing useful work to inspire you to experiment with your own CSA work share participation for the upcoming, local, 2011 growing season.
Please follow our experience in CSA Work Share, Part 2: Therapy for the 21st century.