To offer food to another expresses a profound insight into the gifted and interdependent character of the human condition. In this offering people acknowledge that as creatures they are beneficiaries of an incomprehensible and costly generosity and hospitality. The clearest sign of this acknowledgement is that people themselves become generous and hospitable with others, offering from themselves and their livelihood what they have already received. To invite others to one's table and share food with them is to communicate that life is not a possession to be jealously guarded. To share food is fundamentally to share life. It is to participate in the nurture and strengthening of the memberships of creation.
from Food & Faith: A Theology of Eating, Norman Wirzba
Well, we've been holding out on you with information regarding our 2017 CSA Shares, and nearing mid-November, we don't have especially good news to share. After months and years of home-searching, land-searching, & soul-searching, we have decided we will not continue to run Good Work Farm in Zionsville next season.
To say we are sad to go would be a supreme understatement. To say this was a hard, complicated, painful, decision where no option we had felt “right,” would only begin to touch the surface of all that we have been holding in our minds and hearts over these past few years, and especially past few weeks.
As many of you know, we have been on a quest to find affordable farmland in Zionsville (and beyond) for a number of years now. While we are blessed to have access to farmland here on Rock Road where we have been able to grow for the past 3 seasons, in our hearts we have continued to want and need to find a small piece of land that we could own--providing us with long-term security, investment, and perhaps most importantly, a home. To that aim, we have spent these years trying to connect with folks who own farmland in our immediate community--our goal was to keep our home-base here in Zionsville, to continue to farm the land where Good Work Farm currently resides, and to continue to grow food in service to you, our community, while also building a small spot of our own. For a number of reasons, we have come to believe that we are not able to find land available for purchase here in our current home, and so have decide to move from this place. We intend to spend the next year searching for land beyond Zionsville (and perhaps beyond the Lehigh Valley). Our path forward is not fully clear.
Many of you have entrusted us with the work of providing sustenance to you & those you love dearly for the past 1...2...3... 6 years, and we are grateful to have been granted this opportunity. Though we still hold the hope of being able to grow food for you, our community, in years to come, our future opportunities are dependent on where and when we can find land to settle into for the rest of our earthly lives, God-willing.
Why do we feel a need to own land? This is a question we have often come up against as we make this decision. Is this a selfish decision to make? Do we have a responsibility to compromise our own needs/ desires in order to serve the community around us? These are complicated questions for us to confront. In the end, we do believe that our needs and yours are one in the same; that we cannot fully do the work of growing food unless we have a home, a nest, a burrow, out of which we can offer good work to those around us.
As dirt farmers (or, soil farmers), our intention in doing the work we do is not to make a lot of money. This was never a goal. Sure, we need to make a living, to survive, but the accumulation of wealth? Not realistic on a small scaled draft powered sustainable vegetable farm. Rather, the allure of farming for us has been to create a quality of life where we could thrive as humans. For us, this begins with a connection to the land--land which is our home, land which feeds us and those we love, land where horses & chickens & children & dogs & microbes & fruit trees & vegetable plants & farmers can find nourishment, can eat and live and gather and learn and work and thrive. For us, this means living where we work, housing animals where we sleep, growing food where we eat meals, burying our dead where new lives are born, educating the next generation where we can care for our parents as they age, offering hospitality & generosity to those in need.
Side-by-side with questions pertaining to our visions of how we wanted our life to be, were the economic questions of how to increase our profitability in order to run a sustainable farm indefinitely into the future. We acknowledge a need to expand our production, which demands investments in infrastructure which will save-time, save our backs, allow for a smoother flow to our work, and improve the experiences of those who purchase food from us. In order to make these significant financial investments in a property that will allow us to expand and improve our business, we knew we needed to own the property that we would be investing in. After repeatedly not being able to purchase a property in our direct community that would give us an improved quality of life & the possibility to invest in infrastructure for our business, we eventually knew it was time for us to go.
Should it not be us, we hope that a wealth of farmers come to this community to grow healthy produce for the people who dwell here. We know the need is here. The need is here for you to have access to greens harvested from the field the same morning they make it to your dinner table. The need is here for your children to have a place to learn what a ripe strawberry tastes like, how to pick peas, what each of the pollinator's favorite flowers are, and that a little bit of dirt really is okay. The need is here for people to connect with land in a smelly, dirty, raw, real, substantial, flower-picking, farm-gathering, potluck-sharing, farmer-knowing, way. We thank you for giving us the honor and opportunity to offer our work to this community. Thank you for supporting our work; thank you for lifting us up on our down days; thank you for trying new vegetables that were weird; thank you for making time in your lives to cook & eat & clean-up from home-cooked meals even when this was never the easy thing to do; thank you for raising the-right-kind-of-spoiled children who demand farm carrots & food filled with the flavor of being in-season. We will miss you. We love you, and we thank you.
Your farmers, and friends,
Lisa & Anton
P.S. If you've got a farm to sell, be in touch; we're looking to buy.
Many thanks to Mark Rothman for sharing his GWF photos with us!
Anton M. Shannon