Today we became peasants! And we are proud of it!

From my early days as an agricultural student in the late eighties, I have always looked at the word “peasant” with quite a bit of negativity.  The dictionary explains why. Wikipedia describes a peasant as “a member of a traditional class of farmers, either laborers or owners of small farms”. It further explains: “Peasants typically make up the majority of the agricultural labour force in a pre-industrial society.” “The word "peasant" is sometimes used to refer denigrated to those considered to be "lower class", perhaps defined by poorer education and/or a lower income.” And I definitely did not see myself as that! Being a ‘farmer’ looked much more professional!

Prior to the industrial and green revolutions all farmers were more or less peasants and vice versa.  Now, 40 years on and mainstream farming is an industry where profits come before the quality of the animals or the food it is producing. Battery farmed chickens and pigs in crates are the extremes. Inputs are shipped in from everywhere over the globe, there are sometimes even shareholders and dividends to consider. It’s capitalist farming where high inputs are converted in high outputs to maximize profits. 

Over the last few years I have become more and more unhappy with calling ourselves farmers. To me it says that I have to value money and profits over land stewardship, quality food. Time is money, etc, etc.

So this week when I stumbled upon the website of PeasantsNZ and read their website information I realized that I have to redefine the term peasant. While many of the worlds inhabitants are still considered peasants by the “old” definition (mainly in the poorer countries), there is a new wave of growers all over the world who choose a new updated form of peasantry that is “characterized by lower input costs for higher yields, higher labour inputs but greater autonomy, greater self-sufficiency and a multiplying of local benefits”. And we are one of them!

I realize now that we have been peasants all along and in heart and soul as our logo suggests”Wairarapa Eco Farms; Artisan Growers of Genuine Produce”. I just had to reconnect with the term peasant.

Not just because we are, but because we want to. We are making a stand for agriculture within Nature, away from the entrepreneurial model of converting inputs to outputs. The right to farm as a social act of land stewardship for better farming, for the love of producing (and eating) quality food, food that nourishes and keeps us healthy, and for the love of community by reconnecting our farm grown food with our members/consumers.

Spring Blossom Farm Day

On Saturday the 21st of September we are having our 2nd Annual Spring Blossom Farm Day on our Masterton market garden and orchard.  It starts at 11 sharp and is a great way to (re)connect as a producer and consumer and inspire each other to do some more great things. For more information contact Josje on CSA@wefs.co.nz.

Pip’s CSA blog

Pip Adam, creative writer and blogger (as I found out today) just wrote a blog on our CSA.  She explains what it means to belong to our CSA. It’s always good to receive feedback – good or bad!  And see how things are organised on the other end of the CSA line (the pick up site). Here is the link to a great blog!   http://rightspeas.blogspot.co.nz/ including some recipes and other tips.

Aro Valley Roster

Matt has updated the Aro Valley Roster to include the pick up days through to October. Follow the link to http://wefs.co.nz/aro-valley-roster to volunteer as a CSA coordinator for an evening. We need volunteers for next week and beyond!

Wanting to borrow for 2-3 weeks: Road bike

Our daughter Renske is in her last year of College and as part of NCEA level 3 PE exam is looking for a reasonably good road bike to help her complete her ¼ triathlon that she needs to sit (read: swim. bike and run) in a few weeks time. She has been training on her off-road farm bike, and although it will help her complete the task, she has come to realise that a road bike would be so much faster and might help her to gain Excellence instead of Achieved!. Her exam is in the last week of September. Please contact Josje on wairarapaecofarm@xtra.co.nz if you can help.

Your CSA shares this week

Fruit Share: 1.5 kg Apples and 800 grams of Pears

For those wanting to know about our apples: Our apple storage is getting smaller and smaller and we think we end the apple harvest in around 6 weeks!

Small Veggie Share:   Piece of Pumpkin, either a bag of Brussel Sprouts or Kale, 1 large or 3 smaller Beetroot, a bag of Salad Mix, and a bunch of Pak Choy.

Large Veggie Share:  Piece of Pumpkin, either a bag of Brussel Sprouts or Kale, 1 large or 3 smaller Beetroot, a bag of Salad Mix, 400 grams of Turnips, 1 kg of Potatoes or either a Cauliflower or some Daikon Radish, a bag of Mizuna Greens, either a celery or a bag of Spicy Mustard Lettuce, either a bunch of Silverbeet or Spinach, and a bunch of Pak Choy.

Enjoy, 

Josje and the farm team