Photo: from the website GrowFood.org
My husband and I used to buy all of our vegetables in the summer from a woman who had a huge garden in her backyard. She'd put a sign out on the highway when she was open for business and we would stop in and buy whatever she had picked that day. Last year she stopped selling her produce because the work was too much for one person. We miss her every time we go to the grocery store and face vegetables packed on styrofoam plates, wrapped in plastic and that came from far away even though you can grow it here. Now, she could join GrowFood and find the help she needed.I love the idea behind this organization and I love the website. There are listings of farms of differing sizes from all over the United States needing some help. Farming organic produce, bee keeping, raising chickens, goats or sheep, cheesemaking,on the grid or off the grid. are all listed. You name it, it looks like you can find it here. The website is quite simple and easy to navigate, and I found it completely addictive.
You can volunteer, or you can look for a job. You can go and help pick fruit for a weekend, or work for a season. You can check out a farm close to where you live or take the opportunity to travel to a farm further afield and get room and board. Looking down the listings of farms made me want to head south with my hoe and a sturdy pair of gloves and work my way across the country. If you want an adventure outside the continental U.S.A. you can head to Hawaii, or go abroad to Thailand. Equador,Turkey or Costa Rica.
There is also a section to post exactly what you are looking for, whether you are a farmer or a worker. Today there is a listing for people needing help harvesting, another for a travelling musical couple with gardening experience looking for work and another farm looking for help with farmers' markets and CSA's.
When you spend a bit of time on this website it reminds you just how hard it is to farm. Working small farms and keeping them sustainable requires serious dedication and back breaking effort for very little remuneration. I find it exciting to think that there are lots of young people out there wanting to be a part of this new wave of green farming, even if it's only for a weekend.
For me, it reinforces my committment to buying locally produced vegetables, cheeses meats and flowers and supporting farmers by purchasing from them directly at farmers' markets whenever I can.
Go to the website www.growfood.org
More on Farms
Support Small Farms: Eating Green is Easy
The Localizaiton of Agriculture: A Predetermined Future