We made it! This is the last CSA distribution for the winter season, and our last one for a while as we shift our focus from the farm, inward towards the family for a little bit. I’m looking forward to spending more time with Molly and working on a serious home addition we have planned for our ‘year off’. Thanks again for all your support in making our farm so successful! I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating again: I got into farming because of the plants, but what keeps me going day to day is all of you, and for that I’m very grateful. Have a great 2012!
The Hunger Gap. Famines have always been a reality of human existence. They’re caused by many reasons: political instability, crop failure, and overpopulation are just a few. In just the last century famines have definitely shaped whole regions and led to massive losses of human life.
Famines are unpredictable because they are usually caused by unpredictable events. However, there are annual food shortages due to predictable seasonal weather patterns and we’re entering one of those hunger gaps right now here in Oregon.
A seasonal hunger gap is caused because of a gap in harvests. Right now, many of our winter storage crops such as potatoes and winter squash are exhausted. Crops that have wintered outside want to go to seed as the days get longer and warmer, and while the rapini from these crops are a tasty food, eventually they’ll be past their edible stage long before spring-planted veggies are ready for the table.
For us (and for all of you, hopefully), the hunger gap is a theoretical problem. In this modern age, food is readily available. When there’s less food from the garden we can certainly find it at the grocery store. For our family, the hunger gap is a time to shift focus in our diet towards stored crops, such as grains and pulses, much of which still comes from the store. So, while this shift in diet reminds us that we are eating according to the way of the seasons, it doesn’t mean we have to tighten our belts as we might have had to if we were living in Oregon 150 or more years ago.
The hunger can remind us, however, that there are many less fortunate that ourselves that do experience real gaps in their access to food, especially to fresh nutritious food that we receive in our CSA shares every week.
Fortunately, our CSA operation has been a nice vehicle we can use to get fresh food to those in need. We always have extra food left over each week that goes to our local food bank, and in 2012 we even grew extra of a few crops, so we were able to donate larger amounts of certain things like winter squash, cucumbers and sweet peppers. In total we were able to donate over 2000 lbs of food to our local food bank, all because of our farming operation that was made possible by all of you.
In addition to using this seasonal hunger gap to remind ourselves how fortunate we are, it’s a good time to consider how we can help our neighbors cope with hunger and food insecurity. While Big Leaf Farm is on leave this year, we hope you’ll explore other opportunities to support your local food bank and similar organizations that help to increase access to food for those in need.
Have a great week and enjoy your veggies!