Which Way To Go?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching  lately. I’ve known for years what it is I want to do, but now I’m thinking I should go ahead and just do it and take it even farther. 

I want to be able to start a small CSA. As in Community Supported Agriculture. In a nutshell it’s a business model where I raise a large garden for a set season and instead of selling at the farmer’s markets and on Craigslist, I instead sell family shares each week. Nothing would really change except for the way I get paid. I would still sell any extra at the markets. I would still raise everything as natural and organically as possible. My family would still come first. Starting out will be veggies  then adding herbs and cut flowers and someday branching out and offering things like fruit, nuts, berries, pastured poultry, milk, cheese, eggs, beef and pork shares, local honey and value added products. 

Now I’m thinking about the myriad other things that seem to matter to me. I want to live simply and in peace and harmony with the world I live in. I want to be able to help others. I want to be able, in some small way, to educate. I want to be able to leave the land in better condition than I find it. I want to be able to feel secure. Most importantly, I want to be able to sleep at night and be proud of the man looking at me in the mirror. 

I have had a lot of people over the years offer to help me reach my goals and support the farm by donating tools, equipment, labor, computer skills and things like that. Can I accept things like that and stay true to my core beliefs? Is it worth the headache? I don’t want a business, And I don’t want a nonprofit and all the detailed guberment malarkey that entails. I just want a small farm that supports my family and helps and supports my community. I want to live a good, clean, simple life and still be able to give back to my community and to my fellow man. 

Can I in good conscience raise and sell animals for meat and at the same time keep taking rescues in because I can’t stand to see them mistreated and starved? I see the difference, but would others? My critters eat better than I do. They get vet care. They have the best shelter and the best life I can give them. Then, when the “day” comes, they are dispatched in the most humane way possible with no terror, stress or pain that can be avoided. And I honor their sacrifice and am thankful for the gift of life their meat provides myself and my family. 

I was raised a farmer. We have always raised our own meat. But after almost 50 years of life it still bothers me every single time I have to dispatch an animal. I do it, but it still bothers me. Pa always said the day I take a life of any kind and it doesn’t bother me would be the day I need to just walk away and get a desk job. So I guess I’m still ok. 

I’m not a kid any longer. I feel my age more as the years wear on. I’m either going  to keep staring at the line and dreaming and then someday lie on my deathbed thinking “I wish I had tried”, or I’ve got to bite the bullet, step past that line and go for it. It’s a pretty simple thing really. 

I’m not expecting answers but writing everything out seems to help me think. It’s how I organize my thoughts. I’m a juxtaposition. The bunny huggers hate me for raising meat animals. The hard core farmers hate me for being a bunny hugger. Can a man not want to be a down to earth farmer and raise food for his family and yet still have compassion for the abused and mistreated? 

I see people every day that are looking for a connection to their food. I’d like to be able to teach those who are interested how to raise their own. I’m sick of the way things are. You go to the big store and buy food shipped from across the country or across the globe. Sprayed, poisoned, waxed, painted, injected and tasteless. There has to be a market for foodstuffs where you know what you are getting. Where you look the farmer in the eyes, ask questions and get honest answers, shake his hand, and even have the opportunity to occasionally see the crops growing, pet the goats, feed the poultry. Where you know, with no doubts, where your share is coming from, how it was raised and who raised it. Where a tomato looks like a tomato and your greens aren’t in a heat sealed nitrogen filled bag. 

I want my children to grow up being free to be kids. To learn responsibility and respect without being made into mindless robots. I want them to know what hard work is but also to know how to have fun. Is there still a world I can raise them in that will teach them the value of money without having them worship wealth like so many today do? 

 Just a day to ramble I guess. So many thoughts running through my head.  

I just left the grocery store and now there is no doubt. I’ve got to raise our own meat or we’ve got to become vegetarians. Meat prices have went up again just in the past week. And with all the bird flu, mad cow, and all the repeated and growing concern over contaminants in our meat and egg supply?

It’s time. 


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