Friday, February 12, 2010

It's A Good Business - Fairview Gardens Tour Part 3


The blog continues with our visit to Fairview Gardens Farm in Goleta, California, just a few minutes away from our home in Santa Barbara.   

I visited the farm several weeks ago, so yes, these are pictures of the farm in the current season.  These strawberries were threatened by heavy rain and hail last week, but careful harvesting and good luck saved the farm from losing much of this valuable crop.  

For this podcast I interviewed farm manager Toby McPartland.  Don't miss it if you are pondering small farming on your own.  Toby explains that he plans for profit.  Value added products and business links in the community are ways in which he is growing the farm as a small business.

These honey bees are at work on the farm in this very informal hive set up.  The bees work in a grove of avocado trees, adjacent to a fruit orchard.

We use Fairview Gardens as a way to see farming differently. A lot of current organic methods are in practice here and this was an opportunity to learn on a farm which stays in production year round.  In fact, the challenge here is that there is no significant period of down time for farmers, managers and marketing workers on this farm.

But they are imagining  new possibilities. Even as North America continues to produce massive amounts of food for processing and export, kids in farm country don't get fresh local food in their school lunch meals.  In many places, local food culture and traditions are disappearing under a wave of yogurt in plastic tubes and mass produced pizza.  In another generation, grandmother's home made mustard pickles could be a delicacy that their children don't even recognize.


No comments: