Friday, December 31, 2010


"I believe that where there is pure and active love for the poor there is God also. I see God in every thread I draw on the spinning wheel"

Young India
Winter is the time for processing wool. I suspect we never learned to card and spin wool because hand spinning and other fiber arts were always other peoples' "hobbies".

Again the farm catupults us into untried (for us) arts.
(Agri culture as foundation for culture...)
Because when you have sheep, you have wool.
And necessity brings with it much reason to figure out how to turn your fluffy fleeces into hats and mittens and cloth.

First we pick the fleeces clean...usually with a cat or two napping on top of them...

Then comes a series of soaks to clean them in soap and rinse them in water and vinegar.

After that they are dried on old screens...

Then we card them into rolags.

The rolags are stored away ready to be spun into yarn.

Those not naturally into handicrafts appoach the carders with a kind of snarling surliness. But soon the very act of carding aligns more than the fibers of the fleece...the very soul is soothed. Especially with fat flurries of snow falling outside the nearby window.

" I claim that in losing the spinning wheel we lost our left lung. We are therefore suffering from galloping consumption. The restoration of the wheel arrests the progress of the fell disease."

These things are all part of more than just "living the country dream" or "taking care of mother nature". These processes by which we make shift for our daily necessities are all part of living a life which does not require the starving poor. Some measure of self-sufficiency, some small effort away from commodity trading, a life which supports the craftsman as an individual and the individual as essentially a craftsman may not end in CABLE TV for all...but it certainly will mean Bread on every table.

It would also give our nursing home elderly a place in the working home.

"It is not enough to say that hand-spinning is one of the industries to be revived. It is necessary to insist that it is the central industry that must engage our attention if we are to re-establish the village home."

Ghandi (again.)

Community Supported Agriculture is all about following healthy food systems to all their logical conclusions...and how those conclusions change our lives if we are willing...
exciting stuff to be had in the muck and mire...with the beans, beats, and sheep. Come aboard!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The beauty of Community Supported Agriculture is something most of us have not been acquainted with in our lives. In this age of legalese and fear amongst neighbors it is hard to understand that a CSA farm is not a business engaged in promoting the familiar consumer-producer relationship.
There is consumption, and there is production...but most importantly there is the mutual preservation of a way of life and a means to life through a forging of bonds of trust.

Our members are not share holders in the stock market sense. They are not guaranteed a return on their investment. They are share holders in the sense that they share in the burden of keeping a farm up and running, they share in the financial and emotional burden of farming without pesticides. They are members in the sense of "family members."

We do not run a business out of our home. We live a life in our home, and we farm a farm on a separate parcel of land. These efforts are supported by others who believe in our cause, and who want to partake of the pains and the fruits of making it work.

These relationships are about more than just growing great food for all of us involved...these relationships are part of a small effort to rebuild the lost trust between men in our society. We are living in times which daily pressure us to consider our neighbors and co-workers as threats to our property and our pursuits...we have lost habits in our culture of shared work. The great migration to the cities has made it so that one of the only remaining means of help that many can offer to an agricultural work is financial. This is a small seedling that has sprouted up from the decimation of the small family farm...small farmers can no longer bear the costs of their living on their own, and city-dwellers are looking for a way to reconnect with the land again, and provide safe food for their families. Hence CSA.

Little Flower Farm has been blessed to be community supported in many unusual ways. The very land we farm has been lent to us with good will, with no money changing hands. It has not been leased to us, it has been a gift of goodwill. The Minnesota Food Association has been willing to give us the opportunity to utilize land that would otherwise be sitting untended. The Wilder Foundation owns the land that both Minnesota Food Association's Big River Farms and Little Flower Farm exists on. How beautiful that three different organizations can co-exist with missions that benefit and support eachother.

We operate without employees. We have been graced by the zeal and grunt work of many fine volunteers who have been interested in learning the craft of adding to soil fertility, tending animals, and building a sustainable vegetable farm. They have been content to give to the farm many hours of their time, and in return they have accept gifts which only the land can give...vegetables and meat made possible by our loving tended soil.

These days are times of trial for the family. Families are wounded and crushed by financial woes, family strife, and a loss a sense of mutual purpose. CSAs are a way of repairing this collapse of family in our society.

CSAs bring strangers together in a kind of new and broad family. We each of us contribute what we are able, be it labor, capital, land, or instruction...and gather around the table to eat the good food that is the fruit of our bold project. It is about two kinds of food. The food on our forks...and the food of fellowship.

Thank you to all of our members who make little flower farm possible.
Thank you to the Minnesota Food Association and to the Wilder Foundation for the farmland. Thank you to our volunteers and our friends who have lent their time, talents, and treasure to our 2010 growing season.