And I really mean that: Happy NEW Year. Bring on all that change we've heard so much about — we sure need it. But being realistic, (especially in the light of our President-Elect's disappointing selection for Secretary of Agriculture), we must understand that the change is not really going to be brought to us. We are going to have to make the change ourselves: "Be the change you want to see," as Gandhi would say. But it should be much easier and more efficient in this New Year than it has been in the recent past. And let us be thankful for that.
I'm especially thankful for the efforts you folks have been making to bring change to our food system and I encourage you to continue to "be the change you want to see" by using your purchasing power to demand high quality food in stores and restaurants, by patronizing farmers markets and, of course, by joining a CSA. And to facilitate that last action, I've attached our 2009 CSA Membership Form.
There are some changes right here in your CSA that you should be able to look forward to this coming season. We will be accepting a reduced number of members, compared to recent years, so that even if our production is as problem-plagued as last year, we will be able to provide more bounteous shares to our smaller number of members. And the steps we've taken to avoid the re-occurrence of those problems include employing our current staff (of one Intern and two hourly workers) straight through the winter to discourage them from seeking other opportunities, aggressively pursuing any Intern inquiries that come our way and scheduling myself to participate in the new "Job Fair" at the PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) Conference in February. Furthermore, we're ahead of last year in that the beds have all been composted already and the irrigation system is in much better shape than it was last year.
You'll see on the attached membership form that we are again offering a discount to returning members who sign up promptly and you may notice that, for the first time in our thirteen years as a CSA, we are not raising our prices. It is not that we feel that our prices finally reflect the true cost of production (we still have a ways to go), it is just that we recognize how pervasive this feeling that "hard times are upon us" is in our community. But it's these hard times that will facilitate meaningful change and help us make progress towards a local, sustainable food system. So let's go! I'll order the seeds and recruit the Interns, you folks sign on as members.
And if, perchance, you feel that the hard times are not impacting you quite as acutely as they are others, and that you are able to offer a donation in support of the advocacy and educational work of Maysie's Farm Conservation Center, we would be greatly appreciative!