I thought I had the Great American Novel by the tailback in 1995. I grew up in the suburbs where old Pennsylvania farmland – the kind painted by Andrew Wyeth – had been mixed and cooked into 3/4 acre parcels then cut one after the other and laid with sod into warm little lemon-bar landscape squares. As kids, we would dig in the backyard mud when it would rain and sometimes find cow bones and old farm knickknacks. Much later, in San Francisco, I started writing a story about a suburban farm – how one man returned a suburban parcel into the land that produced food. There were plot lines about a strained marriage, the stress of bringing farming into a white-collar world, and the reaction of people threatened by growing row crops in a front yard. In the end, the story didn’t work, and it’s still in a pile in my things-to-do folder.
Two of our FruitGuys – Dan and Rebecca – were at the Eco-Farm Conference in Monterey where they heard Heather Coburn Flores, the founder of the Food Not Lawns movement talk about turning yards into productive farmland. Parts of the idea aren’t new – victory gardens during World War II were a necessity for folks who wanted cost-efficient variety in their diets as well as a sense of self-reliance. And my wife’s extended family – the folks that still live in a 16th-century village in Tuscany – have homes surrounded by terraced gardens. They live close to their food. When we visited during our honeymoon, we were introduced to the chicken that graced our dinner table that night. As we wrestle with global warming, carbon footprints, compostable materials, we continue to question the way that we are living and consuming. Folks want to do something, anything that they can to make a more sustainable life.
The word sustainable is thrown around a great deal when people talk about how to affect the environment. When it comes to farming, “organic” has become a legally defined term, while “sustainable” is open to broad interpretation based on region, economics, and other factors. We’ve started a page on our website to explore the evolving definition of sustainability, not from an academic or political point of view but from farmers – the people who are managing the land and growing our food. Karla – our incredible documentarian – has posted a video about sustainability from Gabriel Farm (Asian pears, Northern California) .
For fruit mix explanations, check out this week’s mix.
Enjoy and be fruitful! firstname.lastname@example.org