Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The latest in living and eating locally, a new form of rural-urban cooperation

Here's the New York Times story under the headline, "Shoppers Buy Slices of Farms," dateline Campton Township, Illinois. Featured is Erehwon Farms, about 35 miles from Chicago. Shareholders in the farm have open access to the land and are guaranteed a percentage of the season's harvest. While they are not required to work the fields, many do.

Here's an excerpt from Susan Saulny's story:

Part of a loose but growing network mostly mobilized on the Internet, Erehwon is participating in what is known as community-supported agriculture. About 150 people have bought shares in Erehwon — in essence, hiring personal farmers and turning the old notion of sharecropping on its head.

* * *

“I think people are becoming more local-minded, and this fits right into that,” said Nichole D. Nazelrod, program coordinator at the Fulton Center for Sustainable Living at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., a national clearinghouse for community-supported farms. “People are seeing ways to come together and work together to make this successful.”

While fewer than a hundred such farms were in operation two decades ago, they now number about 1,500 nationwide. These farms seem a constructive and non-exploitative way in which rural and urban are coming together.

Postscript: As of Thursday morning, July 10, this story had a new headline, "Cutting Out the Middlemen, Shoppers Buy Slices of Farms," and was among the top-10 most emailed stories in the NYT.

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