Expanding Community and Reparations

February ran by me too quickly. And I might still be waiting for this sunny stretch of the February fake out to end in a blizzard of snowy freezing rain. But that’s just a lifetime of experience and the cynic in me. I just want a justifiable reason for feeling behind on seeding and preparing the earth for the coming season. But really, I’m not behind, I am right on schedule. I need to stop comparing myself to others who have awesome hoop houses and other fun toys.

It’s been a heavy month, and I am lucky there is one extra day this year in the month of February. I spoke at 4 events, brought on two amazing Interns, worked out some of the last bureaucratic agreements and made SO MANY new friends! And currently I have lost my voice.

This month has been two fold. It’s Black History Month were we turn our focus to and highlight the Black History and Greatness that is also American History and personal to myself.

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Personally, I met some amazing Indigenous farmers! Pictured above is Spring from Sakari Farm in Bend, Or. It’s all been rather serendipitous. I had no idea and I have never been at a non Native event where there were so many native people present! I suppose that’s the power of seed, we had all attend the Organic Seed Alliance.

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Pictured above is Kris Hubbard and Noah of Native Seeds/SEARCH 

I had the privilege of meeting at the event and helping Kris Hubbard of Wild Wood Farms Heirloom Seed Company, Hanna and Bill during the seed swap. It truly brought tears to my eyes. I am forever grateful to have been able to meet these fine folks working so hard to save and protect seed. And to further more, rematriate seed back to indigenous tribes. This year I am teaming up with a past CSA member, Mulysa of Resilience Design, to grow out tomatoes, we’ll be saving these tomatoes seeds! I also purchased some seed from Kris to grow out and return back to the tribes. I even found a bean from Kootenai Tribe that was sourced from the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, it’s so close to where the Sinixt people are from!! There is also a Nimi’ipuu (Nez Pierce) bean too!

I hope you are all excited to grow out and eat some great food and help in seed saving activities!! We need taste testers.

This is the evolution of an Indigenous CSA Farm in the Pacific Northwest. You are all apart of it. We cannot undo history. We cannot erase it. We will learn to embrace it and the lessons we learn, the resilience it gifts to us, the strength we need to continue on in a world where life is as much of the equation as death. When you buy a CSA share with Good Rain, you are participating in a Solidarity Economy. When we save seed we protect our communities food sovereignty. And we send that seed back to the original tenders of that variety, with deep roots and history, we repair some of the damage, give our sincerest apologies and participate in physical and spiritual reparations. We can’t un-steal the land, but we can better share it, same goes for the seeds and food. I want you to know, your money, your support, your dinner plates full of my food, it pays for my time and ability to attend events like the OSA Conference, to meet Kris, to grow out seeds and to share them back. I know we don’t all have the time, or physical ability, but together we make it all come alive, make it all feasible for each of us to pursue our passions and repair damage created a long time ago but still felt and reverberating today.

So, personally, it’s been a heavy month and with my deepest gratitude to my CSA Members, it wouldn’t be possible without you. I also hope you are silly stoked to help in the various seed saving activities me and the new interns are planning for later this summer!! No reason reparations can’t be a joyous, yummy community event!!

For the twofer, it’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH FOR 15 MORE HOURS! But we all know it’s something we should always try to keep present in our minds year round.

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I just wanted to share with you Booker T. Whatley. He’s got an amazing story and helped bring the idea of Community Supported Agriculture to the American populace and give it the shape it holds to this day. He had referred it to the model as Clientele Membership Club’s. Where would we be without his brilliance? He had tons of clever ideas and executed many of them and for that I am grateful. Without his bringing, publishing and talking up his ideas I wonder if CSA would be where and what it is today. The World know I wouldn’t have a farm without this particular capital raising business model.

Though I know and believe the Whatley shaped and established this economic business model in America I wonder if he ever got to talking with Teruo Ichiraku who was helping build the Teikei model of farm support and transparency in Japan at around the same time frame 1960’s-1980’s. During the Korean War Booker T. Whatley was stationed at a Hydroponics Farm in Japan during the 1950’s. Hmmmm… maybe they met there? Whatley also traveled the world talking about his various interests in farming and it’s possible through that publicity some folks got to talking about or with him. Ideas are funny that way, either way, we have Whatley’s thinking, speaking and doing to thank for our modern day CSA programs! Cheers to Booker T. Whatley, thank you for thinking about agriculture!

With Gratitude,

Your Farmer Michelle

 

 

 

 


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