Where have all the Farmers Gone?

June 2010 Highlights

A look at how we can come together to support local farms, eat healthy
nutritious food and become better than ever!

This Life Challenge has opened doors and opportunities that I didn’t even
know existed. Perhaps most importantly, it’s opened my eyes. I’ve taken a look at the food I eat – the contents, where it comes from, and how it’s created.

I’ve seen how our grocery stores are stocked and why our American way of
life has changed because of huge conglomerations; how they’ve turned a
natural resource into a money-making machine. Yes, I’ve seen the movie Food, Inc. (and so should you), but that just added fuel to the fire as I had already discovered much of what I now know.

In this quest to get back to the basics of eating whole foods, I’ve been meeting some of our local growers. Some have been around for awhile, while others are coming out for the first time to show Osceola County we don’t have to buy what our government says is good and healthy. And that’s where I found a local CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and its definition in a nutshell is: A popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a  farmer (LocalHarvest.org). So where do you find CSAs? I was hoping you’d ask…

Meet Nancy Pratt of St. Cloud. She is passionate about bringing local produce to your table and into our schools and restaurants. Why? Because she believes that we, as a county, can become self-sufficient if we learn to support our own local farmers. Support for CSAs like Nancy’s can encourage farmers to jump in and begin farming again. Up until recently, no one was offering locally grown food – no produce, no beef, no chicken, outside of being on a total referral basis – due to strict guidelines handed down by the government.

I know of an egg producer who refuses to dip their eggs in disinfectant because it can seep through the shell. They have to keep their egg production ‘underground for family only’ to keep from violating the law. They’ve been eating farm fresh eggs all their life, and they’ve never been sick because their chickens aren’t kept in dark barns, fed stimulants to make them grow faster, or living on top of one another in feces! They are free-roaming chickens, feeding off of grass and bugs as God intended. Healthy chickens produce healthy eggs. But because of the ‘law,’ you and I can’t choose to eat them.

Through Nancy’s CSA, you can become part of a growing trend to buy local, healthy foods from produce to beef. You won’t have to walk into a shop and ask for two t-bone steaks for dinner… you’ll be able to get a quarter of beef right from your own freezer! You’ll buy cheese from the farm down the street and free range chickens from your neighbor. It’s a community of people coming together for a common goal: to support our local economy and ensure the food that’s put on the table is healthy, fresh, and oh-so good! Nancy’s goal is to develop a network of men and women called O-C Grown, (Osceola County Grown), who are currently farming or who would like to start, in order to help feed Osceola County residents who are interested in eating locally grown/raised food.

“There’s power in numbers,” says Nancy. “If we come together to form a farming community, we’ll go farther, faster. We must step up to the plate (no pun intended) to begin offering alternatives to our own residents. We all deserve to eat well and I know we can do it if we come together. It’s a dream that I and hundreds of others want to turn into reality.”

FOOD… It should be a HIGH priority in your life, so quit looking at it as a ‘task’ to perform and begin seeing it as an exciting part of LIFE. You’ll find that cooking whole foods is a ‘whole’ lot more fun than you might think!

“I like that my food is not a statistic. It is not measured in yields per acre, and there is direct human involvement. Real people care about making good choices. This brings an excitement back to eating, and eating well.” Thoughts from a CSA shareholder.

Contact Nancy to learn how you can become a part of bringing whole foods to your table!

O-C Grown
Nancy Pratt

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