Field Notes - V18N4 - July 23-26

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upcoming events

field notes

Yoga in Nature

Tuesdays in August 5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

The yoga class is based on a Vinyasa Yoga class, which focuses on connecting the breath with the movement through the poses that is open to everyone. Class is taught in the Education Center (outdoors weather permitting) at the Accokeek Foundation’s National Colonial Farm on the Potomac River! Cost is $15 for non-members; $10 for members.

Volume 18 | Number 4 | July 23 & 26, 2013

Ecosystem Farm at Accokeek

Colonial Summer Days

Tuesday, July 30 - Thursday, August 1, 2013 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Youth of all ages will enjoy this interactive and fun, self-guided tour while they “Give Ben a Break” with his farm chores. This is an excellent opportunity for youth group and camp leaders, as well as families seeking an outdoor field trip to keep young minds and bodies active this summer! For details on any event, please visit

Hello CSA Community, Yikes it’s been a hot week! We have instituted the “siesta schedule,” beginning early and taking a couple hours off in the middle hottest part of the day. I love this enforced reflection on the day, even indulging in a nap on one of those steamy afternoons. The bugs have seized the opportunity to flourish in these fantastic growing conditions, and we had to irrigate on Friday. But despite these occasional discomforts and pressures, the vegetables continue to fruit and thrive! Please enjoy this week’s bounty with joy and pleasure, after all, it is tomato season! love and overgrown zucchini, Farmer Becky

Ecosystem Farm Manager Rebecca Cecere Seward Farm Apprentices Alex Binck, Holli Elliott Farm and Garden Coordinator Daniel Michaelson Volunteers Rosemary Zechman, Amanda Truett, Tom Ellwanger, Mary Lynn Davis, Yvonne Brown, Terrance Murphy, Ethan Carton, Cairna Bode

blaze sun sweat paper moon hiding tomaters


Farming’s Future By Holli Elliott This week we had a group of young people (ages 8-16) from the inner city come out for a tour of the farm. These well-behaved, bright beings had several thoughtful questions. One young man in particular had a lot of questions about production. How much do we produce? How many pounds from each bed are harvested each week? How much do we sell for? How do we sell? Who do we sell to? I could see him calculating numbers, trying to understand how, or if farmers make any money. I got the feeling he was trying to decide for himself if there was a future in farming possible for him. We went through the numbers as a group and came to the very rough conclusion that we can make approximately $80 per bed per week for the high production months between June and October. The group’s conclusion: A farmer needs to have a lot of beds to make a decent living! I asked the young ones what they thought most farms were like. Most of them thought they were small, like the ones they have toured, walkable. Family or worker owned, with hand planted crops and maybe if they were large enough would have cows grazing in open pastures. This fairytale farm is far from reality. How does one farm family maintain enough beds to make a living? Well, the answer of the last century was that everything is mechanized. Everything is mass scale. In the early 1920’s it was discovered that when adding vitamins A and D to the feed of animals, the animals no longer required exercise or sunlight in order to grow, and Factory Farming was born. The most animals on the smallest amount of space = Bigger bottom line. Add this to our little math lesson, $80 bucks per bed, and the young ones could see how needy humans got attached to their practices of creating revenue through larger and larger scale farms. Did you know that, in the US, the average farm is 650 acres? There is little actual contact with the Earth. Farmers ride on equipment and spray chemicals to make sure this grows and to make sure that does not. It makes our little 8 acre site seem miniscule and insignificant. (Or sacred and vitally important.)

Sacred and vitally important! This upcoming generation has recognized how mass scale is severely flawed. Even those grand 650 acre farms with many many beds rely heavily on government subsidies because the mechanization methods cost so much to implement. We have seen how mass scale poisons our rivers and land. We are beginning to understand the ramifications of feeding GMO grain to caged. crowded, anti-biotic filled chickens - and then eating those chickens. The current system is broken. Anyone who looks can see it. I am so glad someone is encouraging the young ones to look, and to engage their creative genius to create a new way. Some of the thoughts that we came up with last Wednesday: 1. Value good food (vs. factory food), either by paying more for it or by offering farmers other goods and services at discount. 2. Teach everyone to grow good food on whatever land they have available. 3. Stop government subsidies for mass scale GMO production. (Ok, they didn’t come up with #3, that’s my idea, but I did go ahead and plant it in their ripe, fertile minds. Stopping government support of factory farms would cause a huge collapse, from which authentic healthy eco-systems and communities could be rebuilt.)