I mentioned the Varney Farm in South Windsor CT in my last post. This farm, a small but remarkable farming venture that seeks to help reduce hunger, provides food for Foodshare. Foodshare is the coordinator and collector of food from farmers and stores in Hartford and Tolland counties. They disperse collected food to various food banks, soup kitchens etc in these areas.
Sandy Varney and I met the other day so I could see the operation first hand and maybe help get the word out for volunteers. (see previous post) and see the following:
However in our discussions she asked me to highlight a dream of hers. She notices fallow land on her drives through north central CT. She envisions this land converted to grow food crops. Could retired farmers help out in some way? This sounds simple but retired farmers are an untapped resource. Maybe for various reasons they can no longer farm but could oversee, counsel those of us who want to get back to the land. How about organic growers, nurseries donating seedlings, seeds to get the farming going? Who will take over Varney Farm when she can no longer oversee and manage her own operation? Will her land go fallow too? She also reminded me that converting used land into food crops is tax deductible which can be a further incentive to considering this option. Lastly, could a person or a group step forward to pull this together?
I know of a small organic grower in VA who put up a 8 x 10′ shed for a helper to use. This young man has access to water, toilet but doesn’t want conventional work. He helps tend and harvest all that is appropriate to her farm. Young graduates cannot easily find work. Agriculture is a field that is expanding. I could add my own vision: home schoolers, a high school or college graduate wanting to use their education in creative ways seeking out this kind of opportunity, a grassroots adventure, working the land.
We do this in cities. Bette Midler comes to mind. This well known actress put her money to work and began to clean up four blocks in Harlem, NY several years ago of trash. This one idea has led to NYC being replanted one tree at a time, community gardens and rooftop gardens flourishing. The question is: what can we envision for our smaller farms, fallow land in smaller communities? how can we use resources more sustainably and contribute to healing our environment not just in donations, but in education, in a hands on community approach?
We can and do think outside the box when need arises. Please send comments to Sandy at Varney Farm to her facebook page.
Comments can be added here too. Let’s get a dialogue going. . . who knows what dreams will manifest.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. ©all rights reserved. Including photos.