If you have been buying locally grown produce your decision has done more than improve the quality of food on your table. One of the “ripple effects” has been a dramatic increase in the number of farms even in the small state of Massachusetts. This is a growing movement away from the mega-mart and towards the local farmer. Fueled by people waking up to where the real quality and often organic produce can be found. … and that is, right around the corner. This trend has been covered in an excellent article by DC Denison of the Boston Globe. It provides an excellent example of one of the long term consequences of a collective “I’ve had it and am not going to take it anymore” type of mindset. And that one consequence is the rise of local farming.
Anyway the key statistic is that although the size of the individual farm had decreased from 85 to about 67 acres, the number of farms in Massachusetts had increased by 27% in the five year period from 2002 to 2007 for a total of 7,691 (and for our small state I’m very impressed by this number). And this trend is expected to continue through 2012 when the next census is due to be completed.
In addition to the farms being in state, the other significant change is in how this fresh local produce is being sold. There are of course the farmer’s markets which eliminate the mega-middle man and all his accouterments such as a large air conditioned building (which is no problem to me … I’m a big fan of fresh air, natural lighting and the social atmosphere of the farmer’s market). But there’s also a trend for consumers to purchase a share of the crop. For instance Dave Purpula’s Farm in Middleboro, MA (lovingly named Plato’s Harvest) sells subscriptions for $675 each. Each subscriber gets herself a weekly box of fresh produce from the farm. Admittingly, I would guess that it probably cost more than the mega-mart but instead of coming all the way from Mexico or wherever it comes from right up the street. … ocean freight and fumigants not required.. As the Organic Test Kitchen Community is well aware. It’s all about quality, purity and environmental responsibility. I just shake my head when people question this… this is food, the stuff we put into our and our children’s bodies….and it’s worth every penny.
This is just another example of the many ways that going organic or at least local reaches out in many directions creating a greater good.
Related Posts are are:
- PA’s Dept. of Agriculture has a program to help convention farms transition to organic farms
- Organic Consumers found to have high expectations… ah Yeah
- How often do you go to the supermarket/farmer’s market?
- Sustainable Farming Practices Are What Makes Heritage Acres’ Small Family Farms Competitive
- Organic Food’s Positive Social Consequences