BEYOND ORGANIC

‘do no harm’ is no longer enough by Pam Denholm

The organic agricultural movement is nearly 80 years old. It was based on traditional farming practices that promoted the idea of working with nature by returning organic matter to the soil, and using deep rooted crops. The movement became popular in the 70s when environmental awareness increased, but certification was decentralized and varied from state to state. It was only 15 years ago, in 2002, that the USDA Certified Organic label was born.

Years later, we realize that the organic label still has its shortcomings. It doesn’t adequately address issues around soil health, water conservation, social fairness, or animal welfare. Although the number of organic farms has exploded since those early days, it still accounts for less than 1% of agricultural land in the United States.

We are barreling towards environmental catastrophe. Deforestation and conventional farming practices are destroying topsoil at an unprecedented rate, we need less pollution, more biodiversity, fewer threats to wildlife, healthier rivers, reduced risk to workers, and a reduction in environmentally linked respiratory diseases and cancers. ‘Sustainable’ is no longer good enough, we have to do better than just maintain a status quo, we need to regenerate, rebuild, renew.

Fortunately, a coalition of change-makers, brands, farmers, ranchers, nonprofits and scientists, all with a clear goal: to pave the way to an agricultural future focused on enriching the soil, while valuing people and animals have come together to form the Regenerative Organic Certification. Their approach does not replace the existing organic standards, but rather offers detailed guidance giving farmers the tools to implement regenerative organic practices that build soil health. The goals of the program are to:

  • Increase organic matter in the soil over time, and potentially sequester carbon
  • Improve animal welfare
  • Provide economic stability and fairness to farmers, ranchers, and workers
  • Create resilient regional ecosystems and communities

 

This is possible by focusing on three pillars:

Soil Health

  • No/low tillage
  • Cover crops and crop rotations
  • Rotational grazing
  • No synthetic chemicals or GMOs
  • Promotes biodiversity, builds soil

Animal Welfare

  • Five freedoms
  • Grass fed/pastured
  • No CAFO’s
  • Suitable shelter
  • Reduced transport distances

Social Fairness

  • Living wages
  • No child or forced labor
  • Maximum working hours
  • Fair prices
  • Long term commitments

This certification will be facilitated by NSF International, and builds on USDA Organic and other international organic labels.

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THE LOW DOWN ON THE DRY DOWN

CHEMICAL USE IN WHEAT HARVESTING BY PAMELA DENHOLM

Wheat is a remarkable food. Our history with this plant dates back thousands of years. There are many varieties of wheat, but they can be divided into a hardy winter wheats, spring wheats, and summer wheats. Wheat is an annual, and needs to be seeded every year. Winter wheat takes about 8 months to grow, spring and summer wheat take about 4 months. Wheat is considered mature when moisture level of the seed is at around 30%. Once the moisture gets down to roughly 20% it is ready to be harvested. It then needs to be dried down to around 14% before it can be stored. Back in the day, you would have seen bundles of harvested wheat standing upright in the field, drying for winter storage in silos.

Modern farmers will aim to get two harvests of wheat from the same field in a single year where climate is agreeable. Depending on wet/dry seasons, they might plant a winter and summer crop, a winter and spring crop, or a spring and summer crop.

When wheat is ready for harvest, it is swathed, or cut and left to dry in the field for a couple days before the combine harvester reaps, threshes and winnows the grain. Both swathing and combining are done by machine.

Recently, however, it has become more common place to spray wheat with the herbicide, glyphosphate, instead of swathing it. Swathed wheat lying down is likely to sprout if there is any rain, and farmers are still reliant on idyllic weather for the dry down process. Glyphosphate will cause die off, giving farmers greater control over the dry down process, and the wheat can then be harvested standing up instead of from the cut position on the ground, making it less prone to sprouting or damage, plus, spraying kills weeds. The process is called ‘desiccating’.

The problem is, glyphosphate is systemic. In other words, it is absorbed INTO the plant, and does its job from the inside. It cannot be washed off. This means that the timing of the spray is absolutely crucial. The top of the stem, just below the grain head, needs to be brown. Any glyphosphate sprayed onto the wheat at this stage theoretically won’t make its way up to the wheat head once absorbed by the plant.

Here is the part where I tell you what I think about it. 1st, this increases our exposure to glyphosphate. 2nd, it increases environmental exposure. 3rd, glyphosphate residues in bread have increased (although they are still below the maximum 30ppm required by the FDA). 4th, the argument is use of glyphosphate on wheat only accounts for an additional 2% glyphosphate use in the U.S., unfortunately the dietary impact is closer to 50% (wheat is consumed by the average American multiple times a day). 5th, we are relying on a judgement call to decide ‘if the stem is brown enough’.

Glyphosphate is also used to dry down lentils, peas, non-GMO soybeans, corn, flax, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, canola, sugar beets, and potatoes. Buying ‘certified organic’ is the only way to ensure that your food isn’t sprayed with this poison right before harvest.

Dicamba Drift

Chemical ware fare on home soil by Pamela Denholm

This year, Monsanto released a new product. The product was approved only in November 2016 for this year’s growing season, and it is another genetically modified soybean and cotton product, engineered to with stand applications of Dicamba.

Dicamba is an herbicide, used to kill weeds and it was developed in the mid-1900s. Because of its volatility, and because it easily drifted significant distances, and because even a small amount of Dicamba could stunt plant growth, it was no longer used during the crop season. It is however, still being used as a broad leaf pre-emergent. In other words, Dicamba is sprayed in the spring, before field crops are planted to kill any emerging weeds.

However, here we are, years later and arguably much more clever. We have improved our spray technology, and can be more accurate and ensure less drift. Armed with this argument, Monsanto developed Dicamba resistant cotton and soy seeds in a new product line they have called ‘Xtend’, and went to market in what is said to be their biggest technology launch yet.

Unfortunately, our spray practices are not improved enough. Dicamba has the ability to ‘re-vaporize’. If sprayed on a hot day, it will evaporate and then move with the wind and settle elsewhere. Reports of damaged crops in neighboring fields not planted with the genetically resistant seeds have been rolling in. Unlike the 10-20 rows of corn damage seen in neighboring fields for glyphosate applications, Dicamba injury is across whole fields and it is rumored that federal crop insurance won’t cover chemical damage, only loss from natural disasters like fire or flood.

Monsanto promises to stand by the farmers throughout the growing season, farmers who use their product, that is. A meaningless gesture, since it is the farmers who don’t use their product and have lost yields from whole fields who are in trouble.

The problems experienced with Dicamba drift can be directly attributed to its ‘new’ use later in the season, typically as plants approach reproductive stages. Later application dates mean average temperatures are higher, leading to a higher vapor rates and more drift. Also, it is being used in greater concentration, and more widely. In the south where the growing season is longer, so too is the period of Dicamba use, increasing exposure.

Weed management is a growing problem in industrial agriculture as herbicide-resistant  weeds continue to spread. Biology evolves, ensuring that any chemical application to control it will eventually meet its match. Doesn’t sound like a war we’ll win with chemicals, does it?

Famine to Feast

A story about frugality, mindfulness, and ingenuity

Pam Denholm

I am obsessed about a little series I found on YouTube. OBSESSED!  It’s called The War Time Kitchen and Garden. There are only eight episodes, I’ve watched them all, more than once. History needs to be made real to capture my attention. I find dates, events, and locations all very difficult to relate to without the stories of people, how events impacted them, where they lived, where they live now, their hardships and triumphs.  It transforms a mere sequence of dusty events into life in full color, tangible, meaningful, and valuable.

old kitchen

The series is set during World War I, and part of my obsession with it is born from my love of gardening and cooking, but I think what I have taken most from it is just how much we take our modern food system for granted. Although it is a reality in other parts of the world, we don’t ever give a second thought to whether or not our grocery store shelves will be well stocked when we visit. We don’t have to think about what is available, or in season, we don’t have to plan ahead for meals more than five minutes if we choose. We are very lucky, and by comparison really quite frivolous.

I certainly understood a little better my own grandmother’s ability to turn the most basic ingredients into a dining masterpiece, her ‘you get what you get’ mindset, and her distaste for wasteful behavior be it for food scraps, a button, or a bit of string.

Home cooks were creative out of necessity, butter was in short supply, and you couldn’t get picky over your cut of meat – all animal products were very difficult to come by since a food shortage also meant there were very few fodder and feed resources for livestock. Even keeping chickens was a luxury since they were another mouth to feed, despite their usefulness as egg layers. As a result, any animal slaughtered was careful and mindfully portioned, and every part of the animal, tongue to tail, was used up with grave appreciation.

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Against the backdrop of carefulness, portioning, and creativity, our mindless, thoughtless, wasteful modern day food system stands in stark contrast. The series also gave me pause for thought on how reliant we are on those fully stocked shelves in our grocery stores, and when you think about it, how truly fragile our industrialized food system is. What would it take to upend? Not much.

I’m not supposing we live with self-imposed war time style rations, but it is food for thought, and a reminder that robust regional food systems make robust hardy communities.

Dollars and Sense

Some times you see a news headline that you just need to reread because as you read it, you can feel the world start to shift into something different than before. This morning, that headline was:

Amazon is Buying Whole Foods in $13.7B Deal

It’s too early to unpack what this could mean for Whole Foods customers, obviously we hope for lower prices on our favorite organic brands–but it does put a significant portion our food system in the hands of yet another giant, a giant that is competing with Apple and Google in a race to be the first company valued at a trillion dollars.

But let’s say it does mean we get to save a couple bucks here and there, is that where to true value is? I wonder what it would look like if we started doing valuations on our communities. When farmers spend money on inputs which are locally produced and consumers buy food which is locally grown, the money which would have otherwise gone outside of the region now stays within. Here are some findings from a 2004 study of southeast Minnesota’s farming community:

  • the study found that a yearly average of $800 million was leaving the community as a result of farmers purchasing out-of-state inputs and consumers purchasing food produced via industrial agriculture
  • if 15% of those food dollars were shifted to regional farms,the community could generate $45 million in income
  • $45 million in income ultimately would contribute $88.5 million to the area’s overall economy.
  • Researchers estimate that roughly 2000 new jobs and $200 million in new income would be generated if state farmers sold only 3 times more produce in-state than out.

In Michigan, roughly $1.9 billion is spent yearly on fresh produce which is grown out of state, despite the fact that the state grows the second largest variety of produce nationwide.

Research conducted in other states demonstrated similar statistics:

  • In Seattle, shifting 20% of food dollars toward local farms would result in nearly $1 billion dollars being added to the local economy each year.
  • Illinois found that its citizens spend $48 billion on out-of-state food annually, while most farms in the state grow commodity crops for export. Estimates indicate that a 20% increase in local food production,processing, and purchasing would generate an astonishing $30 billion statewide.

Termed the “local multiplier effect”, this powerful economic impact is largely due to the fact that locally owned businesses are more likely to re-spend their money in the community. Indeed, a growing body of research indicates that a dollar spent on a locally owned business circulates 2 to 4 times more in the community compared to that same dollar spent at a non-local business.

The other truly great thing, you really don’t have that much impact on the valuation of Apple, Google, or Amazon. I doubt they’d miss you. But you absolutely have a powerful impact on your local community, because every dollar spend locally, multiplies. Way to get bang for your buck!

Langwater Farm

All Things Have a Season

Oliver de Serres (1539-1619) once said, “A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.”

Putting a home-cooked healthy dinner on the table with any regularity is a challenge, whether you are a food writer, chef, farmer, stay at home mom, a commuter, part-time or full-time worker-bee. The struggle is real for all of us. The most common complaints are:

  • I hate staring into the fridge at 6pm,trying to decide what to have
  • I’m so bored with my repertoire, we eat the same thing over and over
  • My children are always whining about what I’ve made for dinner
  • I just don’t have time
  • I’m not a good cook

I read somewhere that since the advent of cooking shows on TV, the number of people who cook regularly has declined, which is interesting. You would think people would be inspired! What has happened, I think, is that cooking shows have raised the bar of what we think is expected, and now, unless we are performing Jamie Oliver or Rachel Ray type feats in the kitchen, we feel like underachievers.

The truth is, there is no secret genie. No magic unicorn answer. Until the visions of star trek producers are realized and we can push a button on a replicator, wait two seconds, and open the door to a steaming roast beef and gravy dinner, we are on our own.

Here is the another truth: every option has it’s pros, and it unfortunately, also has its cons. Whether it is a microwaved dinner (processed, not fresh, stored in plastic, often full of preservatives)  a meal-kit you just need to assemble (packaging nightmare, environmental impact is awful, and it’s expensive by comparison), a farmer’s market trip (getting there in a window time frame can be challenging), or a drive to the grocery store (not the fresh food ideal, food often shipped from far) at the end of the day, no matter how tired you feel, good fresh food takes work.

This brings us to the final truth. It’s all in the planning. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.

It is for this reason that I am so excited to introduce Cook the Seasons. Here’s why, after test-driving many, many products, including the meal kit offerings, we picked Cook the Seasons to share with you:

  • It supports all the food ethics we hold dear: meals based on local, seasonal, farm fresh fruits and veggies
  • It is completely flexible, you can tailor it to what you like to eat, all the while considering what is coming in your delivery
  • Cook The Seasons puts left overs to good use with ‘Reinvention Recipes’
  • It’s easy to use
  • The recipes are super simple, with a casual elegance that allows you to be Rachel Ray, and make it look just as easy! And delicious!
  • Lia doesn’t just give you assembly instructions, she supports each season with a ‘how to stock you pantry for spring’ and ‘kitchen equipment you will need this season’, plus other wonderful tips on which oil to use, or how to de-glaze a pan. You will actually learn to cook.
  • You can make cooking a family affair, and get everybody into the kitchen with you
  • You actually spend less and less time in the kitchen as the week wears on and you lean on ingredients you’ve already prepared
  • You save money

All this for only $55 for three months, AND Lia has generously offered all SSO customers $20 discount with the coupon code SOUTHSHORE. And, we are so confident it will help you use up every morsel in your green box, that we too will give all customers who join us a $10 credit to their account.

Seriously, what have you got to lose?

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The Dish on Meal Kit Companies: Farmers

With all the ‘farm goodness’ on marketing materials, we asked if meal kit companies deliver on their ‘small farm’ promise, the results were not that surprising:

Menu’s Are Not Regional, or That Local

Large meal kit companies are sourcing and shipping raw ingredients nationally and internationally, and distributing the end product all across the USA. “There’s less carbon emitted to aggregate meat on a shipping container on a boat from New Zealand than if we were driving it from Nebraska to Chicago,” says Matthew Wadiak about grass-fed beef, Matthew is Blue Apron’s 38-year-old chief operating officer and one of its three co-founders.

In an article written by Brian Barth for Modern Farmer, Plated, which boasts “farm-sourced seasonal ingredients,” did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. HelloFresh, which makes a similar claim [about fresh ingredients from nearby farms], replied to inquiries via an email statement—“we source a growing percentage of our produce direct from growers”—yet provided no details regarding that percentage or those growers.

A Culture of Mono-cropping

Mono-cropping is hundreds of acres under a single crop which is terrible for biodiversity and genetic diversity. Meal kit companies have become so successful, and are dealing in such large quantities (8,000,000 meals a month in the case of Blue Apron), that when they need chard for a recipe, they need 40,000 pounds of it. This runs counter to the small farm ideal, supported by locals through CSA’s, Farmers Markets, and businesses like ours. A diverse farm with many different crops minimizes the risk and exposure for farmers against catastrophe. If one crop fails, another is likely to be successful. Diverse farms are also key to the genetic viability of our food system, and are also home to a greater number of insects and wildlife, all vital in lowering the environmental impact of agriculture and creating a system that is healthier, more robust, and more sustainable.

Local Farm Economics

Spending money locally improves local economy. To have the same economic impact and job creation, you would have to spend three times as much with a chain store, and even more with a business that isn’t based in your neighborhood, but instead, is shipping to its end users.

Although meal kit companies report to pay ‘somewhere between wholesale and retail’ prices for food from small farms, in our experience this has not been the case. For example, Markristo Farm who works with our counterpart, Berkshire Organics out in Western Mass, was approached to grow the above mentioned 40,000 pounds of Swiss chard, the price he was offered for it was 80 cents per pound. At South Shore Organics we pay anywhere between $1.75 and $2.50 per bunch of Swiss chard, depending on the farm and the time of year. A vastly different price point. Eighty cents is well below the wholesale price, and not viable for smaller farms relying on labor and not machines to harvest and wash crops.

What if the crop was a couple weeks late due to a cool start to the summer season, the meal kit company could reject the entire crop. What would a farmer with 24 acres do with 40,000 pounds of Swiss chard?

Food Waste

These companies promise ‘no waste’, however, we have already addressed the abhorrent plastic waste in our blog ‘The Dish on Meal Kit Companies: Packaging’. And food waste? Menus and recipes prepared by these meal kit companies rely on perfect portioning as well as simplicity to be successful. The cabbage can’t be too big, or too small, neither can the apple, or the leaf size of the kale. Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not a drive-through order window, and she loves allowing things to grow at their own rate.

Similarly, meal kit companies do not accept wiggly carrots, because it makes them more challenging for their customers to peel. Or misshapen green peppers. Or green peppers that have already started to blush red. The waste is real, you just don’t get to see it.

Our customers know we include potatoes of all sizes, wiggly carrots, and funky green peppers. These perfectly edible vegetables are not rejected and destined for the compost heap because they don’t conform to size, weight, and aesthetic standards of a recipe card.

Food Ethics

And what of the ‘food miles’ solution suggested by the recent surge in hyperlocal meal-kit companies? Wadiak of Blue Apron would argue that they sacrifice mass reach for ideology. Apparently they are mutually exclusive. Mass Reach vs. Ideology. Which side are you on when it comes to food?

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Source (quoted): Modern Farmer, Meal Kit Mania – Unpacked, and conversations with farmers

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Letter From the Daily Table

To: South Shore Organics

Dear Pam,

daily-table-2Thank you for your generous donations to Daily Table in 2016! Through those donations, we were able to continue offering affordable and nutritious food to our community. In recognition of your support, we are pleased to award  you a key supplier certificate.

2016 was a big year here at Daily Tbale. Last June, during our one-year anniversary celebration, hundreds of customers shared with us how the food they bought at Daily Table had positively affected their lives. Over and over again we heard how delicious the food was and how our shoppers appreciated our healthy products at affordable prices. One customer said:

“I shop at Daily Table because there is always a different selection. Daily Table takes all the stress out of shopping because I don’t have to compare prices or make sacrifices–and I know its always healthy!”

Her observations are reflected in the numbers. We are now averaging 300 different items in the store (as compared to only 100 when we first opened). Our average daily customer count is up by 100 over the previous year. We have rescued almost one million pounds of food, to date, selling more than 15,000 servings of healthy and affordable food every day this year in our upbeat, clean, and friendly retail store in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Together, we are providing a meaningful, and dignified, solution to food insecurity.

2017 promises to be an even bigger year. We recently signed the lease for our second location, in the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury, expected to open early summer. We are excited through our continued partnership to bring nutritious products at truly affordable prices to a new community.

Your donations make all the difference. Thank you again for being a key supplier for Daily Table.

With gratitude and wishes for a happy and successful New Year,

Doug Rauch, Founder and President

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About Daily Table:

Daily Table is a not-for-profit retail store that offers tasty, convenient, and affordable “grab-n-go” ready to eat meals, and a selection of produce, bread, dairy and grocery items all at prices designed to fit within every budget.  The store is clean and friendly, and open to everyone in the community.  We can offer these daily values by working with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to us, or provide us with special buying opportunities. In this way, Daily Table keeps prices affordable for all our customers.  Our meals are priced to compete with fast food options, making it easier for families to eat healthier within their means.

About Our Donations:

We made weekly donations of fresh fruit and veggies from local farms all year long in 2016. Daily Table is essentially an oasis in what is considered a food desert, we love their mission, and are delighted that on behalf of our customers, we could support their mission to improve access to healthy food. We made a difference.

Staff Review: Smoothie Mix Micro Greens

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Reviewer:  Pamela Denholm

Micro greens have the reputation of being a wonder  food. They are potent, offer as much as 100 times more beneficial enzymes in than in regular veggies, contain 10 times the anti-oxidants, and are rich in minerals and vitamins that are easy for us to absorb. Essentially, sprouts and shoots contain everything needed for (new) life.

Micro greens from 2 Friends Farm look so fresh and green and vibrant, I was dying to try them and eventually settled on the Smoothie Mix to bring home last week. The same last week of Friday the 13th, and a full moon.

I have to say, right off the bat, that the smoothie portion is generous. If you are adding a handful of micro greens to your smoothie each morning, the clam shell they offer will last about a week. And although it is the ‘smoothie mix’ – it looked like such a nice blend of different micro greens I decided to try a couple different things with it:

  1. Sandwich – I put the micro greens  on a wrap, with cucumber, cottage cheese, grated carrot, and green beans.
  2. Salad – I didn’t have salad greens so added grape tomatoes, cucumber, left over roast chicken, and a drizzle of olive oil to a handful of micro greens for lunch
  3. Smoothie – an orange (peeled), frozen banana, micro greens, and 1 inch peeled ginger

Of course, as I eluded, it was Friday the 13th, the moon was a full, brightly lit round orb. ‘The Wolf Moon’ no less. And guess what? My Vitamix gave up the ghost. That is, it kicked the bucket and went to blender heaven. What the heck!?!  I was committed (to doing this, not to an institution) so after a couple minutes of mild panic and dismay at my recent loss, I threw all the ingredients in my regular blender which made it a little lumpier than usual, but still very enjoyable.

img_4457I really enjoy smoothies, but I am fussy about the flavors. I don’t like it when they taste too ‘grassy’, which can sometimes happen with greens. And I don’t love it when they taste like peas either, which is why I tend not to use pea shoots in smoothies – it is a difficult flavor to mask. But these micro greens which are a blend of pea shoots, baby kale, and other micro greens, were just perfect and not at all overpowering. My smoothie may not have been very ‘smooth’ (RIP Vitamix), but it did go down well and I am eager to make it a morning ritual because it is a no fuss way to get those nutrient dense greens in! They were equally enjoyable in the salad and on the wrap – no need to limit yourself just because the label says ‘smoothie’.

Now I’m off to get on to Vitamix to see if we can do an emergency air-lift. Cross fingers that a full recovery is possible, otherwise I’ll be back on Craigslist hoping somebody’s  New Year’s resolutions dissolved into a ‘Vitamix for sale’ post.

About 2 Friends Farm:

Two friends, who share passion for fresh young greens, sprouted the seed of an idea into a busy, indoor farm growing organic microgreens and wheatgrass  in rich, fertile soil year-round!

“We are organic farmers, consciously growing fresh, beautiful microgreens and wheatgrass, promoting a lifetime of health for your family and ours,” say Ashley and John, Founding Friends.

About Pam:

I believe the healthiest thing for you, is a healthy relationship with food. I enjoy cooking and trying all sorts of things, and have a kitchen full of life that needs sustaining from scoby’s to yeasty bread starters. It is a real treat to have good quality micro greens in my kitchen too, without having to add a tray of young sprouts that would also require maintenance and care.

The Meaning of Life

By Pamela Denholm

I just finished a book by Catherine Goldhammer, who lives here  on the South Shore, titled ‘Still Life With Chickens’ (see, even my authors are local). I enjoyed the book very much, it was a quick, light, relatable read, and the perfect thing to pick up at this time of year. For me anyway.

The business climate during the last quarter was one of the most challenging I have experienced, ever. It felt like the elections consumed every airwave and soundwave, it was saturating to the point where we had no choice but to be submersed until the the tide receded allowing us all to breathe again. Speaking about it to a long-time farmer, he nodded sagely, confessing that in his 30 years of growing, election years were always his worst business years. So I was very happy to welcome 2017, not an election year.

It did make me think, however, about what a wonderful gift a New Year is. It is a clean slate. A reset button. An opportunity to open the door. And in the Northern Hemisphere, it coincides with the very beginning planning stages of the growing season. Another reset button. Farmers are amazingly resilient, optimistic creatures. Despite last years late frost, severe drought, winter moth infestation, seeds that failed to germinate, aphids that dined on Brussels sprouts, borers that attacked roots, farmers eagerly await seed catalogs and thumb through packets of saved seeds dreaming of possibility.

The very act of planting a seed, is one of hope.

On hope, Catherine Goldhammer writes, “…maybe that’s all there is. Maybe that’s what Yo-Yo Ma gives us, and Bach, and Puccini, and the faces of our children, our friends, our families, good work, the ocean, the moon rising over the pond, the havens of our homes.”

And seeds. And a new year.

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About Pamela

From the highveld of southern Africa to the low lying marshes of the South Shore, Pam has learned that regardless of what lies before you or behind you, if you have a seed to plant, the face of a child to gaze upon, or a rising moon, you have tomorrow.