Beware of the Mulch vs Great Community

That’s not your typical title, but this is not your typical post.  This is a perfect word picture of two worlds vying for our business.  One is the large impersonal agribusiness world of corporations and the other is the small close knit community of a local CSA farm.

First, the second hand dangers of herbicides are found to damage the fields and kill the CSA crops at Waterpenny Farm .  When the crops started showing signs of sickness the owners began the process of figuring out what was going wrong.  The end result is the hay they purchased as mulch had been sprayed with a broad leaf herbicide manufactured by Dow Chemical.  This, of course, killed their broad leaf vegetables as the poison leeched into the soil.  That’s the bad part of the story which can be read here.

The other side of this coin is how the community responded to this tragedy.  Imagine the fix you’d be in if you lost half of your crops which provide your income.  Now imagine that you have already received payments and committed to deliver fresh vegetables each week to your customers.  If this was your typical corporation, with outstanding contract deliverables, there would be lawsuits and angry customer support calls coming from every angle.  

The beauty of the small local economic model that is inherit in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm is that people know the people producing their food, many times they are good friends with them.  So when there is trouble, they respond as… well as a community.  Here is what happened when the message was delivered to the Waterpenny Farm customer base.

We are very grateful for the 65 volunteers who came to Waterpenny Farm over the course of the weekend and last week to help us remove more than 50,000 pounds of herbicide-contaminated hay that we had used to mulch our fields.

The hay was heavy, moldy and hard to work with, yet people stuck with the job, and many came for several mulch-lifting sessions. Volunteers ranged from children to many over age 70, and everywhere in between. Volunteers contributed about 150 hours to this colossal effort, and our own crew on the farm, along with extra labor we hired with help from community donations, worked about 250 hours.

You can read the entire story here.  After you finish it, you will find that Dow Chemical, the maker of the poison which caused all the trouble, didn’t bother sending anyone out to help clean up the contaminated hay.  They after-all probably didn’t even know that they had caused a major disruption in the food supply for all the families involved. 

If you haven’t heard of CSAs be sure to check into them when you get a chance.  You can get great healthy food, meet new friends, and help to save another small farmer from extinction.

Also be sure to check out the new film from Franklin Springs Family Media, called Inherit The Land.  We will be discussing this film more shortly, but until then be sure to check out the trailer.

Leave a Comment