b).Our farming operation is small scale by intent. Small scale doesn’t imply “not much production,” it means we want a farming model that others can duplicate without a huge capital investment. You might say we’re authentically local–that is, relevant to our next door neighbors and nearby communities. We want our food to attract people who walk-in, people who can easily reach us by car and people who live in surrounding towns. If what we’re growing doesn’t chime with those folks, if it’s not affordable and healthy, it’s smells of “business as usual,” an excuse to profit off people vulnerable to a broken food system. That’s not us.
Our current operation focuses on organic vegetable production–about six acres worth. In case you’re not accustomed to what a acre is, imagine a football team marching down field from their own goal line to the opponents 20, the edge of the Red Zone. That’s an acre. Now imagine six of those football fields, and that’s the amount of land were planting, cultivating , watering, weeding, mowing, fertilizing and harvesting veggies from. No small task.
When you’re committed to organic mini-farming–organic means no synthetic chemical fertilizers, no pesticides, no herbicides etc–you get two results: a). lots of vegetables and b), personal character development. Don’t kid yourself, organic farming is hard work, the rewards of which are measured more in relationships than dollars and cents.
Right now, we’re integrated into the local food system via a fascinating pattern of relationships. We grow for the families who live in New Talavan Community. We service three farmer markets each week. We sell to the Good Karma Cafe in New Orleans. We’re part of an online farmers market in the region and we charitably distribute free veggies to several faith based organizations who run food pantries and congregate meal sites.
Farming in the Deep South is the real deal. January and February can get chilly—we experienced six nights below 32 degrees. But with a little floating row cover, all the January sown direct seeded crops, such as fava beans, spinach, snow peas, swiss chard and beets survived.
And then cometh “the heat,” three months of sultry hot days and nights. Impossible? No. Challenging? Yes. Interesting? Absolutely. Cows…workshops…festivals…creamy milk…1200 acres to explore…people from different cultures…it’s a movement towards food that nourishes both people and place.