Our guest blogger is Sheilah Goodman, co-founder of Cedarbrook Farms, a diversified organic farm located near Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Sheilah can be found every Thursday until the end of October 2009 at the Cedarbrook Farm stall at the FreshFarm Market near the White House, and on Sundays throughout the year in Dupont Circle.
Michael Pollan wrote “An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief” in October 2008 arguing that food policy will and must play a central role because it affects so many other national priorities: energy, health care, climate change, and even national security. Pollan advised the yet-to-be-elected president that one way to bring about the needed changes — local sustainable farming instead of subsidized agribusiness — would be to use the power of the White House as example. Pollan said the president would be wise to choose a White House chef who was “committed to cooking simply from fresh local ingredients”:
Besides feeding you and your family exceptionally well, such a chef would demonstrate how it is possible even in Washington to eat locally for much of the year, and that good food needn’t be fussy or complicated but does depend on good farming.
This week a new FreshFarm Market opened by the White House. Every Thursday afternoon through the end of October there will be 18 vendors just steps from the White House offering milk, cheese, flowers, meats, baked goods, and even yarn. As with all FreshFarm Markets, the vendors must produce what they are selling from the land that they farm and they must be local—no more than 150 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.
Our farm, Cedarbrook, is one of the vendors at the new market. Starting any new market is exciting, but this one is even more so. This market has a high profile, and it can help hasten the demise of the old model of conventional, subsidized industrialized food production by showcasing local, sustainable agriculture. Hopefully the market’s visibility will help create a new generation farmers. The challenges of operating a small sustainable farm are numerous, but a little creativity and perseverance will take them a long way. Here’s a primer to help them get started: Read more