Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm

  (Ottawa, Illinois)
Sustainable Thoughts
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Sometimes it hurts


Sometimes it hurts…

Much of the joy we receive from farming is in the connections we have with our customers/members and the other businesses that make CVSF go. At each delivery, we get to talk with our extended farm family.  Usually, we hear about yummy dishes made with our meats and good words about our eggs.  Sometimes, there’s a comment about something we’ve shared of our farm or lives in a newsletter or on our face book page.  Rather than loading our animals on a truck for some distant commodity market and that being the end of our story, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business model allows us to complete the circle and connect with our eaters. Farming the way we do make us happy, the many allies we have make us wealthy.

Last night’s delivery was bittersweet. Linda, a long-time member (When I say that Linda is a long-time member, I mean that Linda - and her husband Bill – joined our vegetable CSA in our first season nearly ten years ago. They’ve remained stalwart supporters ever since. They’ve cooked out with us by our creek, and we’ve pot-lucked with them at another member’s home. We’ve shared our lives and they’ve shared ours), was picking up her share after missing her last couple of scheduled deliveries. We learned that Linda had lost her Bill several weeks ago.

When Linda walked in to pick up her share, I gave her a hug and told her how sorry Beth and I were for her loss. She told me it had been a hard day – lots of memories of Bill. We spoke some more and talked inevitably of food. Linda told me that, for a while, she hadn’t done any cooking. It was an activity she and Bill did together. Recently, a friend whose son wanted to learn to cook reached out to Linda. For the past couple of weeks, Linda and this young man have gotten together to cook dishes with our meats; teaching cooking, she has found comfort and connection with our food. In a small way, our work has helped comfort a grieving friend. This makes me proud. I’m sad, but proud.

Today, Beth is on her way to Arthur, IL to pick up frozen chickens we’ve stored in a meat locker there since the end of our pasture season. While she’s there she will stop in to Central Illinois Poultry Processing to offer our condolences to Andy Jess and his family. This winter, Vera Jess died unexpectedly. We’ve grown to know the Jesses as they have processed our chickens for going on six years. Andy and Vera founded the Illinois’ first and only poultry processing plant that can do certified organic processing. The Jess’s hard work and attention to detail allow small, sustainable, and organic poultry growers across Illinois – and neighboring states to offer the best and most humanely processed chickens possible. The Jess’s business makes our business possible. We thank them, and mourn their loss.

Connections are important and enrich our lives, but sometimes they hurt, too. Rest in peace Vera and Bill; you are missed!



D is for Democracy

On Wednesday the Osmunds traveled to Springfield for Local Food Awareness Day sponsored by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) - http://www.ilstewards.org/.

Over 30 local food advocates from throughout the state converged mid-morning on Pasfield House (http://www.pasfieldhouse.com/) just a short walk from the capitol building. After introductions, Lindsay Record and Wes King of ISA taught us "Lobbying 101." Next, we joined our lobbying team and pored over lists of senators and representatives we wanted to see and plotted our stategy while deciphering maps of the Capitol and Stratton office building.

Fortified by lunch, prepared with talking points, loaded with information packets, and stocked with heirloom seed packets (thoughtfully donatated by Baker Creek Seeds (rareseeds.com) , we walked to the capitol.

Once through the security screening, we were set to spread the word about local foods.

A slight hiccup (and an explicit sign that more citizen lobbying is needed) ocurred when a capital police officer asked "Who's your lobbyist?"

Beth replied, "We're all lobbyists - citizen lobbyists."

"Ma'am, I don't think you understood my question" he replied rather pointedly.

Wes showed him his lobbyist id and quickly smoothed things over, but this dismissive attitude toward citizen participation in government was galvinizing.

We didn't speak with any representatives as they were in session; but we visited each of their offices and left our materials with their secretaries and staffers.

Onto the sentate! We did meet with our 38th District senator Sue Rezin (http://www.senatorrezin.com/).

Richard Osmund, Duncan Osmund, Senator Rezin, Beth Osmund, Jack Osmund, and Jody Osmund

After a visit to the gallery to watch some of the house proceedings with the boys, we regrouped at the ISA offices.

We hydrated with ice water, had the boys run off some steam in the yard, and enjoyed some quiet after the noisome capital, before heading back to the capitol for our meeting with Lt. Governor Sheila Simon (http://www.ltgov.illinois.gov/).

Our group of local food advocates from throughout the state discussed how Simon could use the bully pulpit of her office to further our efforts to build a local food economy in Illinois.

(Lt. Governor Simon with Beth and Jack Osmund)

(Simon, Deborah Cananaugh-Grant, & Dayna Conner)

(Wes King of ISA pulls out our lobbying materials – including a packet of seeds.)


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Here is a link to University of Missouri, Agriculture Economics Professor Emeritus, John Ikerd's top ten reasons for eating locally.



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