Allot has been said lately regarding "stimulus" packages, how the government can pull us out of "the weeds", and people loosing their jobs. While I am truly grateful for my off -farm job getting us through the winter and feel disheartened by the great number of jobs lost to American families, the stimulus package they are proposing to pass isn't enough to help the common family. It isn't near enough! We do not need another program to dole out money or benefits to hold us in bondage and debt. And I don't want it to be this way anymore! We need to help each other out of this ressession! This is our version of "stimulus from the bottom up!"
We are working hard to drive our local economy through developing our CSA program, country store of MIssouri products and bolster our fledgling farmers markets. This will help us build a solid, local foundaton we need to suceed on a year round basis and try to become more sustainable.
The money people send to us five to two months before the season starts for their CSA farmshares allows us NOT to have to go to the banks for credit to buy the necessary inputs for the farm operation. They trust us to grow fresh, local produce for them by giving us a chance to cut the middleman out (the banker) by reducing costs at the beguning of the season. The relationships we have started to develop with our local families are paramount and essential for a stable, local economy. CSA famshares also keep the flow of cash in the community by our giving our business to other community businesses . We like to call this the "three leg's on the old milk stool".
We have seen allot of hard work going into local MIssouri value-added products like honey, pollen, jam, jellies, pickles, BBQ sauce, salsas, relishes, mustards, etc. We decided that we wanted to support these companion farmers devoted to processing their produce, nuts, berries, fruit and meat into great tasting , healthy products. So we are in our fourth year developing and expanding the Danjo Farms "All Missouri Country Store". To say the least this has been a raging sucess with the public as nothing we have put on the shelf has stayed on the shelf for long. We are also trying our hand at developing and providing the commuity with our own farm products. The main solution to the problem that we have been working on is puttng together the funding for a certified kitchen with state approval to meet the health and safety regulations and ensure the public a quality product. This is a big step for us but we are getting there! Agian, the locally driven achivements of this states farmer's has allowed us all to be winners - as farmers, families and local, rural communities keeping it close to home!
We have been apart of the nations growing and developing farmers market trend for more than a decade. This has given us a way to connect with the community, find numerous resources and countless followers and friends. Most all of the markets we have been involved with have flourished into a profitable adventure for us as farmers, Today we have been given the great oppourtunity to help develop and build our local farmers markets here in north-central Missouri. I believe and have faith that this will be the great foundation and building block of our local communities economy. Although we have some that would like to trap us in the notion that "one farmer, one market, one product produced" by developing and maintaining farmers markets ran on "A style" rules is the way to go. We have found out by trial and error an open "B style" farmers market ran for "all farmers, for many marketing angles, and a diversity of products produced" is an enriching and healthy environment as it is managed correctly for the community. The spirit of community, the security of locally grown food and the attitude surounding mutual support towards the local enconomy, and family life is essential to the survival of the American dream - to be strong, healthy and secure. So buy local, eat local and spend local!
As Alice Waters of The Edible School Garden program profoundly expressed, and applying it to local economies said, "..(build them) so that they are physically inviting, and inspiring–and perhaps even beautiful–is more important than wiring them for computers. We cannot expect computers to function as a kind of substitute ... Just as agribusiness, processed food, and supermarkets fail to provide the benefits of real communities–the kinds of communities that are nurtured by small-scale local agriculture, home-cooked family meals, and farmer's markets–the virtual classroom can never replace the real classroom in creating a socially responsible public (and local economy needed)."
STIMULUS - The way it works for us sustainable, small-scale home-grown farmers, the local families that support us and the community we live in, play in and love. We are uniting to take back what is rightfully ours -the freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness we all diserve!