Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back to the Beginnings of Fair Share Farm 2000-2002

As we start our 10th CSA season we are in the mood to celebrate and look back. In this post we remember those days of 2000 and 2001 when Rebecca and I were headed on a collision course with each other and the farm.

The Fall of 2000 found Rebecca in San Francisco, working for the Housing Rights Committee of SF, while figuring out a way to get back to the Graff family farm. Her household was a member of the Terra Firma CSA, and as she learned more about CSA farming she found that a farm focused on sustainable agricultural practices and community could also provide and economically viable profession.

Rebecca pre-millenium in SF
At the same time I was living in Rochester, NY and had just quit my job for good as an environmental engineer/health and safety professional. I was in the midst of figuring out how I could make a living working with my hands instead of sitting in an office. My main focus was art---printing and hand-coloring black and white photos.
Among the cathartic steps I took was to travel to Italy to visit the hometowns of my father's parents. It included a wonderful time connecting with the Fazio clan in Ferroleto Antico in Calabria.
In Calabria 2000 visiting my Grandmother's side of the family,
with cousin Frank and my friend John
In the Spring of 2001, Rebecca took a position as an apprentice at Peacework Organic Farm in Newark, NY. This was to be step one in coming back to the farm and starting her own CSA operation. As it turns out I was a member of the Genesee Valley Organic CSA, and we got our produce from Peacework. So on May 20, 2001 I went to do my farm work shift and we met.

That summer we spent a lot of time together, as we got to know each other and I worked on a photo essay of the farm. By August we had decided to hitch our wagons. The next month we witnessed the tragedy of September 11th together. I joined the Peacework farm crew in November and we apprencticed together for a month before moving to Missouri for the winter.

CSA members cleaning garlic at Peacework Farm, 2001

Bean pick with farmers Liz Henderson and Greg Palmer (on left)
Rebecca and Sweet Pea
By then we had secured a pair of apprenticeship positions at Michaela Farm in Oldenburg, Indiana for the 2002 season. That winter we began cleaning up the farm in preparation for living and farming here. From March through September we worked at Michaela and learned much about midwestern soils and weather, tractors, farming equipment, chickens and cattle.

With the farm crew at Michaela Farm
Apprentices at work
So what happened next? Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I can't wait, I love this!