Sunday, August 13, 2017

It Takes A Village - 10 Years and Counting





So this week was declared as National Farmers Market Week. I’m guessing it was done so by someone who lives and shops in a climate where the harvest is in its peak right now. You know, up in the Northeast. That someone does not live in N. Texas, I would bet, where the peak summer season is winding down. I know several farmers who are kind of in-between harvests right now, their crops having already peaked with tomatoes, melons and other summer fare, and are gearing up at home for late summer and early fall crops. It’s like a 2nd spring season. With triple digits. 

This weekend also holds another meaning, special to me. This is the 10 year anniversary of when I started Market Day. As I noted yesterday in a Facebook post, it was on August 11th, 2007 that I gathered up a few peers from TOFGA, put up a canopy and a sign in the back of a truck out in the front yard of the old gray farmhouse and called it Market Day.
I made sure to notify area media, and now retired DMN writer, Kim Piercewho was always eager to cover local food stories, came, unbeknown to any of us, and checked things out. She went home and tried her JUHA Ranch Porgo sausage, (which sadly they have stopped making). In the paper’s daily food column she wrote favorably about it, and the newest little market in town. The next month, cars were lined up, from the gate down the driveway and out in front of the house! Everyone who came to sell, sold out before 11am. What had I started? (I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find a link to that first article. If you can find it, please send it my way!) Since then, the market has been featured by other local writers as well and we were off to the races, as they say.

Well, let me back things up a bit for you; for those who may not know, and explain how it all started….

Like a country song…

See, I lost my truck. Yep. I was hoofing it, borrowing a friend’s vehicle or catching a ride, whenever I needed to get to Dallas, the only place around with a selection of organic foods. The organic garden center I owned, and that I had recently relocated, was a bit ahead of its time down here in Balch Springs and was struggling. Plus, our city proudly opened a Home Depot and a Wal Mart – aka small business killer – and I just could not compete. The sales I had enjoyed up in northeast Dallas on Skillman at Forest Lane, were not to be replicated here. In addition to the shop, landscape jobs, and a few speaking gigs, I took part time consulting and admin work wherever I could find it. But to no avail, I wasn’t making enough to cover both my mortgage and a hefty truck payment. Funny how the bank doesn’t take eggs or commercial seasonal color flower bed change out service as payment, either. 

So, at any rate, being more or less stuck here, I became aware, first hand, of how limited the food choices were in this area. Pre-Star bus service, pre-DART rail 4 miles away, if you didn’t have wheels – you walked or rode your horse. And the one my brother left here when he moved, isn’t broke. Now as funny of a home video as that might make, I chose to walk. Getting tossed from a beautiful mare is not on my bucket list. And I wasn’t up for riding my vintage 10-speed all the way to Lower Greenville where the closest Whole Foods was at the time.

Officially, anything south of me, and a few neighborhoods to my north was considered a USDA food desertAll of the area north of me, in my opinion, may as well have been one, too. There wasn’t any organic produce, much less, fresh locally grown organic produce, at either of the grocery stores in our town. I was still drinking pasteurized milk at the time and occasionally, I could find organic milk. But that was about the extent of “organic” around here. I was working so much I didn’t have time to properly tend much of a garden. I was pretty frustrated that access to Real Food, Grown with Integrity didn't exist.

Then, I had an idea! 

What if, once a month, I invited some of the folks I had recently met at the TOFGA conference where I’d recently spoken, to sell some of their grass fed meat products, organic produce and farm fresh yard eggs – right here?!  I would even offer to take pre-orders. I concluded that it might also draw more people to my garden shop, which was struggling to say the least, and bring in additional much needed cash flow.

So, that’s what I did. And, as they say, the rest is history. So, partly out of my own desire for easier access, and partly a food justice awakening, I began what is today still called Market Day.

The Model

I’d visited the downtown market a few years prior and didn’t care for what I saw. Car exhaust fume filled sheds, crowded sidewalks full of out of state/country?, and certainly out of area produce. Plus, the fact that it didn’t seem to host many actual farmers, didn’t sit well with me. I’d been told stories by some farmers I’d met elsewhere of how they felt pushed out from the once sterling downtown market, by rock-bottom prices on inferior and imported 
produce brought in by brokers. They couldn’t make any money.

I knew I wanted my market to be different. I wanted farmers to be able to get a fair price for the efforts and fruit of their hard work, while at the same time, customers could shake the hand that fed them, and know they were getting the real deal. After all, they could just go to the grocery store if they didn’t care who grew their food or what they 
bought.

So, Market Day was launched with the premise that I would not allow wholesale vendors to come and resell produce from warehouse’s 2nds and surplus, nor produce grown with conventional pesticides sprayed on them in over synthetically fertilized, sterile land. We certainly have enough nutrient deficient food available as it is. If I didn’t know you through TOFGA, or you weren’t sent to me by someone I did know, I’d have to come see your farm, have a good sit-down conversation with you about your growing practices and make you understood why it was so important not to bring compromised produce to Market Day.

See, for one thing, I found out shortly after opening, that there is a nearby community of folks who live with various serious auto-immune, chemically sensitive and other various environmental illnesses. Many of these people, I was told, must daily keep track of how much conventional food, versus organic food, they consume. For some, a miscalculation was a matter of a trip to the hospital! And, many weeks, they'd send the healthiest of themselves, out to shop for the rest of their community, here at my market.

Plus, at that time, conventional produce was dirt cheap in the supermarkets. So why would people make a special trip to a farmers market if they couldn’t find something better? I wanted my market to represent the best produce money could buy locally, and a unique environment in which to buy it. After all, I had chickens and horses roaming the property. Thanks to my brother. It doesn't get much more unique than that!

TODAY

So here we are 10 years later, countless vendors have come through my gates and fed hundreds of families who have come from all over the metroplex. Many, both vendor and customer, passing several other markets on their way here because this one had the reputation of being faithful to its claim of no conventional produce or food 
brokers being allowed. 

The exception I would make to re-sell, was only for small farmers without sufficient staff, who needed to be present at the more mature farmer’s markets, but also wanted to help feed this community and support my new, growing market.

They would sometimes drop off some of their produce for me to showcase – with their farm name credited. Doing this took a lot of coordination. One farmer and I would meet up off the side of the freeway at dawn on Saturdays to exchange boxes of produce and a check on his way to Coppell’s farmer’s market. Those were some early mornings! Many of the farmers are an hour or more outside of the area. I’m lucky to be in so close to you all here. And I’d like to think, that you think you’re lucky to have this farm so close to you.

Eden’s, even though it was one of only 3 other independent markets, didn’t have the traffic of Coppell, already an established city market, nor the capital backing had by a few of the new upstart markets in Dallas. Plus, honestly, once the Dallas Morning News pulled the plug on NeighborsGo, I lost what was one of the best ways to communicate with my neighbors. So it was not easy to keep getting the word out. Facebook had not yet become popular.

Alas, here we are, 10 years later - still kicking!  
 
And now, also farming full time!

In order to help fill the gap of produce for the market, which was seriously lacking due to the shortage of organic farmers in the area, I decided to break ground and put my horticultural knowledge to work growing food, instead of ornamentals. That’s how the CSA farm came to be. You can find out more about and join the CSA. The CSA supports the farm’s budget, which pays the bills around here, and grows food for the market as well as members.

Now it is true that the market ebbs and flows with both vendors and customers. It’s hard to keep a happy balance for both. And I can’t fault someone for not driving past the newly renovated and overhauled downtown market these days. (But, buyer still beware – not all who sell produce, also grow it. And certainly, they don’t all grow with natural methods. Many are small, conventional farmers. ASK!)

And I understand producers all need to pay their bills and take care of their families. Markets in more densely populated areas are bound to have higher traffic and sales. So my vendor participation has struggled recently, as well. Plus, sadly, some previous producers, ranchers and farmers are either no longer in business, for various reasons, some having retired, or have chosen to focus on markets closer to their farms. Competition is fierce for small vegetable farmers struggling to compete with these new “meal in a box delivery services”. And it seems just about every supermarket now carries a full supply of “local” produce. One has to ask though; local to where?

Many pop up markets I’m seeing are capitalized by high vendor fees, or with state and federal grant monies that a privately held market like mine isn’t eligible to receive. Along with these nice lump sum funds, comes a paid staff to spread out the work of acquiring new vendors, vetting farms, generating special activities and just general help running the event each week. Wow, wouldn’t that be nice?  (By the way, if you’d like to volunteer here at your favorite local, home town farmer’s market, contact me here. I have a lot of great ideas but could use the help to implement them.) I’m not complaining, just explaining why this market hasn’t grown more over the years.

I’m still independently owned, and, currently, you could say, operate it independent of any help, too. But that’s ok. I do what I can do. I want the focus to remain on produce. I love meeting new people each season and appreciate the loyal returning customers, too. I consider it an honor to grow food for families that have come to trust me. I only wish I could grow even more so they'd not have to supplement with mainstream groceries at all. But, that's a different dream. 

I’ve kept my prices as low as I can, by using sustainable farming practices including renewable energy when possible, and keeping my overhead as low as I can.  Three years ago, I started accepting SNAP so no one would be excluded. But this is not a bargain basement clearinghouse for old, overstock produce that has been sitting in a warehouse.
 
This is freshly hand-picked, truly locally grown and nutrient dense produce that you’ll not find at any supermarket, or at many non-farmers farmer’s markets. (One giveaway of a broker market, is tropical produce alongside perfect looking tomatoes – in February – in North Texas.) Look for the table that doesn't seem to replicate the produce section at your supermarket. Most of the time, all of that stuff doesn't grow at the same time in the dirt here in the DFW area. Even with season extending high tunnels and hoop houses, we don't grow watermelons in the winter, or produce cauliflower in August. 

Small farmers are trying to compete with large, corporate owned farms and brokers by experimenting with hybrid seed designed to grow in different climate conditions, (not the same as GMO), but these seeds are often much costlier. And from my experience, many consumers are not willing to pay the higher prices for what they see as a simple vegetable. 
 
My friend Beverly from Cold Springs Farm in Weatherford probably grows a wider selection of items than I've ever known possible. But she, too, grows in green houses and high tunnels. This infrastructure comes with expenses though, and that demands a bigger market or higher price tags. 

I still invite other organic farmers and small value added producers, even the weekend warriors with a bumper crop, to arrange to bring or set up and sell here on any Market Day weekend. Lately, though, it’s harder again to find those available to do so. There are more markets in DFW now than ever before. And yet, still, many lack actual farmers. Some of the rural farms are having success setting up farm stands at their farms, opening up shops, and getting bigger or more automated so they can grow and sell just a few crops, in larger quantities, at a much lower price, to wholesale buyers. This is good news for indie grocers and canners, but not good for you, the consumer.  

I've hosted three bakers, several meat and egg producers, countless small farmers and even more than one local coffee roaster over the ten years I've been here. In some cases it served as a launching pad for them as they moved up and on to greener pastures and larger markets after getting a start here. But small producers of value added items like jelly and jam, pickles and bread, need a special permit and licensed kitchens from which to sell their goods to me to re-sell out of my shop, if they're not going to hire someone to be here selling in their place. Those things take time and cost them a lot of money. Meat needs accessible freezer and cheeses refrigerator space. Produce needs to be fresh and coordinating to pick up and drop off isn't easy. Plus I need to be capitalized like a grocery store to stock shelves.


I only have so much talent and time to spend in the kitchen, although I do make pickles now and then and bake bread when I have time and it's cool out. But mostly, I stay focused on growing produce and selling our local honey from the farm. Bees take time to make that golden magic elixir. The Texas Honeybee Guild takes pride in raising their bees in natural and humane ways, always careful to harvest no more than what will leave a safe, ample supply over the winter for the colony. 

LOOKING AHEAD

You all have rallied around the market on several occasions and for this I’m very grateful. 

From the very first chef who bought my produce and gave me advice on how to do so, to all of the producers, vendors, customers and local chefs who will take what I can spare today, I have a great deal of gratitude. I could not have figured it all out and executed all that I have entirely on my own.

I've hosted intimate private dinners, long table dinners for 100+ guests, multiple gardening, healthy eating and even yoga classes as well as a multi-community garden Le Tour de Farms Barn Aid fundraiser event for Cafe Momentum which at one time raised their own gardens as part of their program.



I’ve feared losing the whole place more than once, but have managed to survive, thanks often to outright gestures of financial kindness and my faithful and gracious CSA members who understand they are helping share in the riskiness of farming. We even bought a front end loader for the farm with everyone's help, allowing me to make more compost and have one of my most productive years to date!

 
It’s a labor of love for sure, and what I live for each day, even when things don't go right. These days as I read about the rampant rising health crisis, and I watch those I care about struggling in battles with health issues, it makes me more determined than ever not to give up.

I keep planting each season, because I get those calls from people who are just starting or coming out of cancer treatment, who have had a child prescribed to eat organic food to help with a health or behavior issue and from those who just want to eat fresher, better tasting, non-conventionally grown food from nearby.

You all are what inspires me to keep on keeping on! That, and honestly, I don’t know how I could handle going back to the corporate world and flying a desk after all of these years. I might lose my mind without my chickens and cats, dogs and horses and Smoke my Icelandic ewe to make me laugh every day. Or my little Frog Pond to look out at whenever I need a break.

I mean look at that face! 


Thank you, past and present DFW farmers, volunteers, bee keepers, producers, bloggers, authors, harpists who bring that special ambiance to Market Day, in spite sometimes of our Zumba neighbors, and to friends and family. My heartfelt thanks to all of you, for all of your support these past 10 years.
I am finding new ways to reach more of my immediate community, before they “need” to eat what I grow. I also hope to encourage a few people to volunteer on a regular basis so we can grow into a market that can afford a paid staff, and remain sustainable, without having to gouge vendors on their fees.
I intend to grow as much as I can on the two acres of this old homestead, and continue to learn to better utilize the remaining 12 for the future. I am learning to engage even more with other farmers, sharing ideas and techniques that should enable me to grow more, both in terms of yield and varieties. It’s always a learning experience. Every day.




I am planning a special celebration this coming Saturday to recognize our 10th anniversary. I’ll have balloons and organic treats for the kids, big and little alike, and hopefully, even though it is a bit of a lull in harvest time, a taste of some farm goodies from here and a few other farmers I know.  So, come see me Saturday, August 19th, from 9-12. A free farm tour and CSA orientation will follow at the close of market at noon. Let’s hope it’s not a typical triple digit August afternoon!

And plans are in the works, in my head anyway, to host a small, community based long(ish) table dinner here this fall to connect my neighbors to the farm in a more tangible way. Volunteers from chefs to servers, tables and chairs to you name it, will be needed. PM me here

Till we meet again -

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

Marie

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Now What?

Excuse the following ramble. I think I am still processing.

When I made the decision to start growing food, it was without question that I'd grow it in a responsible, sustainable, non-polluting way. After all, I grew up with the mindset of not polluting the air, soil or water. It was something of which I have always been conscience. Putting the earth first.

While I can't afford an electric truck and tractor, now that I grow commercially, I do what I can to combine stops to reduce overall trips; use solar energy and rain to irrigate the gardens, into whose soil I am constantly working to sequester organic materials (aka carbon), so they'll retain moisture longer, leach less and become more fertile than when I began - thereby reducing the amount I need to use the tractor. When it was nearby, I used bio-diesel. I'd love to learn how to make my own some day. 

It's a habit, leaving things in better condition than you found it, that I adopted decades ago as a young Girl Scout. Living in Chicago and cherishing the camping trips in forested areas,we never left our trash laying around and we always respected Nature.


I grew up in awe of Nature. There was always something to see in the woods camping that I'd never see on the paved back yard on which I grew up. Our closest green space was an empty lot on which, before I was out of grade school, a fast food restaurant went up.  Parks were not grass, they were wood chips and playground equipment. You rode your bike not across fields to get there, but down paved streets filled with houses, concrete and useless lawns that no one was supposed to step foot upon.

My mom grew as much as she could in a very small space in that back yard, and while gardening wasn't my thing  until much later in life, I intuitively appreciated the out-of-doors. The rain and the sun and the changing of seasons were on my mind.We were taught to turn off the lights when we exited a room. We turned down the thermostat in the winter and used a blanket and opened the windows and appreciated the fresh air in the warm weather. I still prefer a warm breeze to synthetic air conditioning most of the time. We didn't toss trash out of our windows and we began recycling. That is after they decided to replace deposits on glass bottles and cardboard cartons with plastic.... well, everything.

I remember when they told us of a coming ice age of sorts when I was a young girl. I was scared half to death because winter was not my favorite season and I couldn't imagine it never being summer. I don't remember when they back-tracked on that idea. But it didn't seem to last too long because before we knew it, we were looking at "global warming". No more aerosol hair spray so we could help close up the hole in the ozone. From what I remember, anyway.

While I'm glad that the deep freeze event didn't end up happening, perhaps it's the missed marks of predictions in science such as this, that have caused some people to question the validity of what is now being called climate change. But it seems to me, that we have many more incidents and data backing up the warming of the world's oceans, and all of the damage that this is doing, than we ever had for an ice age. Even many US cities are being affected. Just ask the mayor of Miami about the ever increasing rising tide and what they're going through to protect the city's ocean-front properties. Made me re-think about retiring to some beach front property some day.

Yet, there are many people who cling to the idea that we, "mere humans", could never do anything, even collectively, to affect something as massive as the Earth's atmosphere.

This line of thinking is pretty interesting to me, considering some of the same people are saying how great they are and how responsible they are for other things that would require a much different posture than that of a mere humble human. Either we are capable of doing great things or not.

Well, let me just say; we are capable of doing great things; we have already affected this beautiful planet.

We have stripped its forests,







polluted its waters and air,  
















caused earthquakes,






longer lasting and more severe and violent storms - which have cost lives.


We've ruined soils by trying to do more, too fast,

and in the process, pushed a lot of species of life - to the point of extinction. 


How can anyone say "we" couldn't affect the climate, when we've already done so much damage in so many ways and in so many places around the world, just in my lifetime?


I don't know how old the earth is. I don't know for sure that if my old Ford truck were put out of commission and replaced with an electric one tomorrow, it would make a big difference in the big picture or not.

But I do know that nearly every time I drive or take the train into the city of Dallas from the south east, there is a haze of smog hanging over downtown as I draw near, that I don't remember seeing 25 years ago. 

I do know that when the neighbor fires up his old diesel rig and idles it for 15 minutes, it fills the air and my house with a suffocating cloud that lasts long after he's gone. And that can't be good for anyone to inhale. And the post oak tree he parks underneath, is dying.

I do know that when the wind blows from the south, the air is noisier with I20's traffic and it's not getting quieter. And surely the exhaust from all of those vehicles is being filtered by fewer and fewer trees as we cut them down in lieu of more places to shop and eat - for things that do nothing to clean the planet. Urban sprawl is coming to my side of town. Quickly. And I'm not excited about it.

And I don't know that what I, as one person does, alone, affects things or not; but what we do as a nation, collectively as millions of individuals, until very recently, has caused more pollution to this big, blue, beautiful planet than any other country on it. And it made perfect sense that it should be up to us to bite the biggest bullet to help fix things. But that, apparently, wasn't fair. Over two decades of negotiating and 200 countries later say otherwise.


Farmers all over the world are among the first to feel the imbalances in the seasons. And in turn, those who eat food feel it soon thereafter.

The longer rainy seasons. The longer dry spells. Higher low average temperatures. Higher highs.

California just recently came out of what I believe was its worst decade of drought in generations - only to be followed by floods.  

Generations that occupy the same land now experiencing fewer chilling hours each winter; forcing them to move orchards to higher elevations in order to produce food and make a living. To yield less, means to charge higher prices.

The push is on to develop strategies for drought tolerant species of vegetables, using season extending and soil protecting structures to grow food where it used to grow more abundantly - before climate changes began affecting yields.

Farming organically actual helps sequester carbon, BACK into the soil. It conserves energy and water. Organic farming slows runoff and erosion of topsoil by rebuilding it.

Farming without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides reduces pollution because the products we may use, break down in the sunlight, with water or quickly with exposure to air. And, a small, organic farm, refuels itself in a closed loop system when combined with livestock whose manures are used for fertilizer and sometimes, fuel.

Organic farmers are on the front line - and in a place to help where others refuse. But we can't do it alone. 

I realize we can't turn back the clocks. And no, I don't want to have to light a candle to see at night or have to build a fire to make myself and friends a meal, or not be able to communicate with you all via this blog, a computer or a cell phone. Or live totally off-grid all of the time. I like running water and heat just like anyone else. 

But I want to do it in a way that does not leave a trail of smog and pollution behind me. And I want my government to lead the way with matching or better funding for safe, alternative and renewable energy sources as fossil fuel gets. I don't want to say, "me first and too bad about the rest of the world." And I really do think most of us agree.

What comes around, (the planet), goes around.

I want to embrace every eco-friendly option I can afford to embrace and save up to afford more.

I want to conserve as much energy as I can and leave the little slice of Texas that I am fortunate enough to own, in a better way than which I found it; stripped down to nothing but sand burs and Bermuda grass where it wasn't bare sand. Not a grain of top soil to be found unless you went to the back 3 acres of unspoiled prairie.

I want to be an example for conservation and living responsibly.

I want to encourage more people to learn to grow a small back yard garden of popular foods. Organically.


One of my goals for Eden's has always been to be green. As green as I can be. Solar power and rainwater collection for at least some of the irrigation and animal's drinking water.

Solar panels for the walk in cooler and hopefully some day for the yurt and my house and one day I hope my main automobile will be green, too.

My thinking was that the lower my overhead, the less I'd have to mark up the food I grew to pay the bills and make a living - so more people could afford to eat well. I have been green out of frugality, if nothing else.
 
I believe, we all can be examples of conservation. 

We have become a society of disposable phones, packaging of packaging - of food that can and should be coming out of our own back yards as much as possible, raw and local otherwise. And we are a society of convenience over conscience with profit over people and the environment. Or safety.

None of us is perfect. No one is asking us to be perfect. But if my shopping or living habits contribute to the pollution of my land, soil or water, I will certainly do whatever I can to change that. Maybe now more than ever.

We don't own this planet. We are simply borrowing it from future generations of people, of children, of those who haven't even had a chance to see it yet. 

Once again, look for organic farmers and like-minded citizens to lead the way, in spite of the profit seekers and those who choose to stay in the old ways of increased fossil fuels use, at the expense of small islands and countries on the other side of the world, our own shorelines, and the very air we breathe and water we drink.  By the time some people notice the effects of the warming of our oceans, because they don't have one nearby, it may be too late.

It's time we think of others and err on the side of caution. At least, that's what I think.


Eat Your Food - Naturally!


Marie

 Click for some tips on how you can do your part, and some links/sites to follow;

Food and Water Watch
DownWinders at Risk - local organization dedicated to cleaner air for North Texas.
A plethora of 100 sites. One for everyone's fancy.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Coming Together to Eat



The one thing that brings us all to the same level playing field, is food. The need to obtain it and consume it.

And when we can all gather around one big table, be it a long fancily decorated one, a round one with a porcelain top or a picnic table with ants running across it, barriers are lowered and we can all come together and enjoy one of life’s most simple acts. Eating.

My decision to move to Balch Springs to open a garden shop had more to do with the piece of property I found appealing than anything else. Moving my home there a couple years later, was just a two mile jaunt from where I’d been living, and honestly, it’s felt a bit like moving back to where I grew up in IL; On a pretty busy road, a block off of a noisy freeway, (instead of a busy commuter rail station), in an old house of a smallish, mostly blue-collar community. The main difference being this community is more diverse and markedly more rural. 



People of my community, whenever they’ve come here to the shop or Market Day, have always been warm, welcoming and friendly.

They come seeking nourishment, flavor, quality and often find the experience of an old childhood memory of their grandparents’ farm, or make a new one.

They’re often surprised to see chickens running amok, huge, old oak trees shading the area, historical buildings, and if on a tour, the land opening up to what often feels like to some, a never ending expanse of land full of native wildflowers, indigenous trees, shrubs, insects and other wildlife.




I’ve made my home and stay in this community because of my love for this land, and the people who live here. I’ve watched a lot of changes I don't necessarily like in the past 12 years; too many new fast food restaurants, beer stores and national brand cheap merchandise outlets, and don't see enough simple quality of life improvements or focus on existing mom and pop establishments.

But none the less, the people seem to come together for the fall fest parade, 4th of July celebration, the repair or building of a playground for its children or to pick up litter city-wide; showing me that there are a lot of people who, too, feel a sense of community here.  And as I've hoped, the community garden here continues to grow into a place where neighbors gather more often, too.


The longer I live here, the more comfortable I feel and the more determined I am to keep this farm here, in Balch Springs, rather than move it further out. Demographics have been evolving and development has been exploding here just as in the rest of the state. And as a rural property owner and lover of things left undisturbed, I’m not too excited about some of the development or the pace of it.

However, knowing that my little farm can still provide a relatively quiet space for someone seeking solace from their busy life or a tragic event; a safe home for wildlife; a bit of a preservation for what the native prairie lands here looked like before “Zip City”, before it was called Balch Springs, and produce nourishing organic food for local families who want it, really makes me smile.

Won't you gather together with others this weekend, wherever you are, and sit down at a table, long or short, and share at least one meal? Not in the car. No phones. No computers. No TV’s. Just food and people and conversation. And if you’re around the farm, join me Saturday after Market Day for a picnic. Potluck style.

I’ll provide the garden salad and a few crazy chickens running amok. 

Eat Your Food - Naturally!
Marie