It has been my contention that out of the coming economic chaos, innovative strategies would emerge that would allow us to build a sustainable new kind of localized economic infrastructure, more appropriate for a world of $6 gas. Meet Tim Fuller, one of the managers of Erehwon Farm, one of 1500 experiments in Community Supported Agriculture that have emerged in the last three years. It is a variation on the old notion of Cooperative Farming.
The shareholders of Erehwon Farm have open access to the land and a guaranteed percentage of the season’s harvest of fruit and vegetables for packages that range from about $300 to $900. Arrangements of fresh-cut blossoms twice a month can be included for an extra $120 — or for the deluxe package, $220 will “feed the soul” with weekly bouquets of lilies and sunflowers and other local blooms. Shareholders are not required to work the fields, but they can if they want, and many do.
As gas prices rise, the whole industrial agriculture system, unique to this country, will have to change. The notion of importing fresh blueberries by air from Peru will begin to be cost prohibitive. The salmonella outbreaks from giant industrial farms in the Imperial Valley that sit next to cattle feed lot cesspools will become less attractive. What Community Supported Agriculture does is allow the local organic farmer to plan his season and run a sustainable local business, supported by local customers.
It is the essence of The New Federalism.