Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was just visiting Tim and Devin , the farmers at the Common Ground CSA at Stonykill near Beacon yesterday to see how things were going. Many of you may have seen the NY Times article recently "You say Tomato , I say Agricultural Disaster ".

They with countless other organic farmers have seen the loss of their Tomato crop due to the blight helped along by the wet un typical Summer weather we've been having. It appears the fungus is also a threat to their potatoes , and is the same fungal disease that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid 19th Century.

Where a field of tomatoes or another crop has to be ripped out and destroyed as their is NO organic solution to the disease you suddenly see the reality of making a choice to grow or buy organic produce . It 's been a veritable topic of conversation as to the unseasonal amount of rain there has been and how for many they've had a great summer as they work outside and the temperatures and humidity have been lower. BUT if you were also wanting a good local organic salad with some fresh tomatoes ,.... you'll be having to pay more for them now . Or they are not available when you go to pick up your share at the local CSA .

On the other hand the Greens , the kales and similar plants have been loving the alternate weather this summer. So you adapt ,..... but these are the hard choices when you opt for a less toxic form of produce . And most organic farmers know this , and that's part of the realities of a principled decision to grow with out the array of pesticides, fungicides and petro fertilizers .

Unfortunately the blight wasn't helped by the effects of the large agro-business entities who compounded the situation by allowing thousands of tomato plants on to the market which were contaminated back in April. The usual box stores , that require excessive numbers to ensure low prices every day , had a part to play in this frustrating situation.

Despite this underminded blow to their efforts ,Tim and Devin have continued to work hard on ensuring that other crops made the farm stand. When I was there chatting in the field Tim , Kim and Devin were digging up some handsome carrots . And in a creative outburst this past weekend they've managed to bring some vibrant color to the various structures around the yard

There was the most brightly painted Hen house in the field I have ever seen . So despite the realities and consequences of a crop lost , the team at Common Ground found that something sunny can come in a different form. The reality of art and agri-Culture was met in this wonderful creative act. I shall be finding more time to continue working on the habitat studio there,inspired by this healing activity , this week.

I think there is a wonderful lesson here and also a strong argument of how different worlds can impact each other , the one detrimentally the other rejuvenative , healing some times in the face of adversity . These are the choices we make , and how we make sense and learn from them not always coming with a price tag ,.... these are invaluable .

I 'm off to Philadelphia tomorrow to see how the gardens grow there . We will be putting more material up on the habitat studio and accessing the conditions of the various lots planted .
Talk soon , SD

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