Hi everyone. Thanks to Sprout for this award. I spend a lot of time plugging away by myself in a field with only the ravens for company, so it’s nice to have some recognition!
And thanks also to the person or persons that nominated me.
So, I’m going to talk for 5 minutes about the philosophies behind Golden Valley Farm.
A couple of years ago, before a market, I chalked the words ‘fresh, local, organic’ on my signboard, thinking, that’s concise; kinda snappy. But it didn’t take me long to realise that the whole philosophy of the farm is in those three words: fresh local organic.
So, first, fresh. The ‘Fresh’ on my signboard is about personal wellbeing. As soon as a vegetable is picked, cut or dug, it begins to shed nutritional value, so for the best nutrition (and flavour), your veggies have to be as fresh as possible. Now I want all the people eating my veggies to be as healthy as possible (that’s me, my partner, my kids, friends, customers) — and that means getting the produce out of the field and onto the plate ASAP…..so for the personal wellbeing, for the nutrition and enjoyment of each and every person that eats the produce from my farm…I strive for freshness (and incidentally, I think freshness is the single biggest factor in the current popularity of farmers markets)….and what is the easiest way to have fresh veggies for the people? Well, it is to produce them locally….which, conveniently, is the second word I’m going to unpack.
So for instance when I was separating from my ex-wife, I had customers hugging me across the market stall bench, while people in the queue waited. And I really needed that; the support was amazing, and I still feel that very deeply. Then there’s other times when——when selling your produce becomes more...like recently, when a guy, who I like to have a chat with, just one of those people who you seem to know, he came to the stall, and he was looking really rough. I sort of said, ‘you ok?’, and he looked at me for a moment, and said “I lost my daughter”.
But for me, that he is able to share that with me, and I don't know what to do but reach out and touch him, and say "my friend"... what is so special is that he feels able to do that — what the tax department sees only as a monetary transaction is also a place for sharing—-suffering in this case, but there’s also so often recognition, there’s people just checking in, there’s people who may be single or lonely, being seen and known, and, most often, there’s just people you know having a chat and a laugh…and all these small happenings are building community one block at a time.
So "Local’ is about community, about the coming together of individuals to form something greater; a network of support and nurture…..and where do these groups of individuals come together?
The “Organic” on my chalkboard is about opening the scope of your thinking to include the whole world, and making decisions within this awareness.
With every step forward, it’s trying to negotiate a win-win-win situation, where what is important on a personal level, and what is important on a community level, is attained within the bounds of behaving ethically and responsibly within your understanding of the planet.
It is as simple as not poisoning ourselves or the planet, but it’s also about reducing food miles and thinking of the long term good in everything from choice of inputs to the packaging you choose to use. In day to day business this wider picture is easy to lose track of, so I’d like to remind everyone of a saying that may be trite but true : Think GLOBAL Act LOCAL. And I think it’s really worthwhile consciously addressing whether your business is trying to generate a win-win-win on a personal level, a community level, and on a global level.
No one’s perfect and we have to be pragmatic, and you can’t always do as well as you’d like, but you’ve got to try, right?
And hey, thanks for the award!