Interview with Time Donkey
ComPost: What is Home Grown Greens all about?CRM: Home Grown Greens is a business model to serve small, family farms, market growers and agricultural communities. We provide a reliable, predictable market for small and diverse growers; we provide crop production supplies, services, information, training and financial support for home based agriculture and production. At the end of the day, Home Grown Greens is a brand, a brand that means home grown, home made, to the highest of standards by people who live where they work and receive a fair, sustainable and just reward for their labors. We aggregate the production of many small growers and distribute that produce directly to the end users, family, folks, and restaurants as a weekly share along the lines of a CSA model or a weekly share scheme. The basic idea is to provide the grower with 2/3 of the end price and distribution gets 1/3 for the gathering, boxing and delivery side. The distribution is community supported and the network of weekly customers is a strong foundation that is easily expanded to include home made products. Once we reach the point where we are delivering 1000 boxes a week, at 25$ a box, it is easier to see how the trusted relationship can expand to include, eggs, meat, processed organics, tools, plants, clothes, etc. The key is the core CSA group, the guaranteed, prepaid, faithful, understanding, tolerant, supportive and receptive market. And, finally, HGG is a model, a replicable model of an alternative food production and distribution system that is ecologically, environmentally and economically more efficient than AgraBiz.
ComPost: That sounds like a lot. AgraBiz’s main claim is that without their genetically modified seed, chemical fertilizers and giant distribution system, the world would starve. Do you really think small gardeners can compete?
CRM: AgraBiz does provide food for the world but the people do not know the true cost of that food nor the health risks it brings. The AgraBiz distribution system requires huge amounts of oil and energy, Oil for transportation, oil for fertilizer, and massive amounts of energy for refrigeration. The entire food system is dependent upon cheap oil. In essence our modern food distribution system makes us vulnerable and at the mercy of unsustainable supplies. As the price of oil goes up, so do food costs. Unsustainable.
Secondly, the effect of modern AgraBiz has been to pollute the water tables, contaminate the food supply with deadly insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, growth hormones and genetic species that threaten to destroy natural, open pollinated nature itself. Add some of that up and it looks like we better have another way of feeding ourselves before it is too late.
On the production side, small is better, much better and more efficient. The organic, sustainable small garden is the most energy efficient, productive, reliable way to grow. When you factor in the benefits of working at home, the quality of life and the financial independence, then small and manageable looks good.
During the Second World War, folks in their backyards and in community victory gardens grew most of the food eaten at home. It is only in the last 50 years that the people have not fed themselves, in the last 50 years the population has moved the farms and small communities and into cities where they work as many jobs as they can and have neither the time nor space to grow much of anything. We call it industrialization, concentrating the people in cities to provide workers for industry. Now, the jobs are gone overseas and the people are left without any way to survive, they are trapped in the city. Other people grow their food, bring it to them, prepare it, cook it, serve it and then haul away the plastic containers it all came in. The idea of moving many of those city/suburban folks, as many as would want to back to the farm where they can provide a solid, sustainable life for themselves and their families is attainable and provides a solution for unemployment, health care, retirement prospects and provides an alternate to welfare and other entitlement programs by offering the willing an independent business, life opportunity. Home Grown Greens is a nation of simple, humble folk who want to live, work and prosper at home. Members are endowed stewards of a timeless tradition, the touching of the garden with their mind and being. Try it and see.
ComPost: Why should people want to farm?
CRM: To survive and to survive more abundantly. The daily life of a gardener/farmer is one of endless activities all done to strengthen and prolong their own and their loved one’s foundation and life. The cycles and rejuvenating power of nature is on tap for those who touch this calling with their minds, hearts and bodies. Your daily movements, spontaneous responses to new, popped up problems or chores is like tai chi, an at oneness with your own food chain with your care. Only those who grow to live can access the network of a living creation and open their own portal to the mind of creation. It is a transfiguring experience and a terrible revelation to begin comprehending the how and why of life and death, the mind/matter connection between our thoughts and this all powerful god can be indisputably demonstrated, in this manner: go into your garden at night and while there imagine that you had a special pair of glasses that could see the connections between the various forms of life; and that each of these connections was represented as a thin line of light. What would you see, the first time you put on those glasses? You would be blinded by the light; there are literally millions of connections, interactions and envivo biochemical reactions. The connections are real and life on this planet depends upon them. Modern, industrial city based living cuts most of the population off from the biocology humanity depends upon, simply put, The Earth, the cradle of all life. The long-term health benefits of a natural farm life cannot be purchased or administered by a doctor. The future of mankind is organic, living things and how we can interact with them is the highest of technologies, health and rejuvenation, long and amazing lives all based on a sustainable, natural way of dwelling and living on this earth.
This is all working towards the mission of re-farming, rediscovering and restoring the nation to agricultural sustainability and the people back to the garden where they can move forward from a solid foundation. This is not a going back to the old times, the new farm model is smaller, smarter and focused on local consumption of produce, greens, herbs, fruit, grains, products and services and will make use direct marketing and sales organizations such as CSAs, COOPs and buying clubs. Each of these little family farms is a name in the book of gardens, the sum of which is like unto the mythical Garden of Eden.
ComPost: What happened to the family farm?
CRM: What happened to the family farm? The family farm and the resulting, highly self sufficient, sustainable system of food production that we had in rural Americana, all came from a source, namely, the farm Family. So what happened to the farm family is the answer to what happened to the family farm. The farm families created all of family farms for very good reasons, to first feed and shelter themselves; then thru hard work and nature’s bounty prosper. Every family’s goal was to build a foundation for their children to continue. The family unit was able to grow and provide a decent living while feeding the ever expanding urban, city dwellers. 80% of the grains and products grown were grown to feed livestock. Cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep and assorted other meat sources. The care and feeding of all that livestock was a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, without any let up. It required an entire family just to feed the stock. So at the beginning of the Second World War, we had a sustainable food production system that required on site living … you had to be there to really know what I mean. The clear unity of purpose was necessary and what we did was not a job, it was how we lived. There were few jobs. The farm life was efficient because it allowed everyone to contribute in their own category, kids could help, older folks, everyone had a set of chores to do, that is the way we lived. The morality and ethic of working together was imprinted before we learned to speak. The sense of the earth is more easily recognized in young children and when immersed in that power and the ways of the cycles, as farm children often are and I was, the bonding is for life. This is how it works. My father would take me out into the field while he worked, when he plowed, I watched and he would plow. We had a Farmall M that pulled a 3–14 plow thru the blackest clay loam you ever saw. The smell of it is the smell of anything possible, full of earthworms, bugs, centipedes and little critters of diverse descriptions. My dad would come over, bend down and start to breakup and dig around in the tilth, commenting on this and that, show me how the seed sprouts, how many days and how the earth was really made up of lots of living things all working together. The basis of all faiths is in the seed and the surety of life on the grow.
The family farm was the center of life, food, shelter, income, retirement home, home to cousin’s who had gotten in trouble, sustenance and meaning for old bachelors and old maids. It was all that and more. Farm life used to be the one thing open to anyone, no matter how poor; and there were a lot of poor folk farming as share croppers or renters. You see there is a great difference between those that own their land and those that work the land for the landlord. The typical deal was 50/50, the farmer does all the work, pays for the equipment and other improvements. The cost of seed and stock was split and at the end of the year the share cropper and the land owner would split-up any profit, 50/50. 50% of the net profit from a 160 acre farm, in Iowa, was enough to support a family but not much more. When the AgraBiz attack began the first to fall were the sharecroppers who did not have the capital to buy new and bigger machinery and more land to take advantage of new technology. The Haves and the Have Nots. The source of poverty is injustice, inequality of land ownership. This Injustice has created two classes, the haves and the have nots. All of human history is a saga of how far the haves will go to maintain their advantage of power and land control. Slavery, indentured servitude and in our day and age, a job are the tools that wealth has used to stay listed in the whos who of importance and power.
ComPost: What is wealth?
CRM: Wealth is the accumulation of resources and is the root cause of poverty. For wealth to accumulate it must come from somewhere and the “somewhere” it comes from is the people. It is the labor of the people that is gathered, deposited and used to induce others to work for tokens. The plan works because the people do not have any way of surviving unless they are part of the token based economic system. That is about to change. Wealth should be looked at like compost, it does no good sitting around. When wealth is released it becomes prosperity and generates real increase.