Susan and I are husband and wife for 23 years as of last week. We're also farming partners. One day we were walking down the lane into the field and we were having another skirmish in an ongoing debate. What should we be doing next on our chore list and how should we be doing it. Each of us was becoming frustrated with the other. There was a pause as we walked. Then she said, "You know, if there were two Dunn Creek Farms in different universes and you ran one and I ran the other one, they would look completely different." I was tempted to mutter, "you're damn right" but instead I've thought about that comment. What would my farm look like? What would hers look like? What would we be missing if we didn't have each other? Well, that sort of thinking leads into some recent experiences and an important insight into creating fundamental change.
A few weeks ago we put out a flier and made social network connections to invite a limited number of local people to join our farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture - members buy a weekly share of veggies, fruit, eggs and meat directly from our farm) and the results are now in.
The primary membership of our CSA (those who contacted me for membership) is entirely female. I realize that our members will be feeding their men and boys. And I know that more than a few of these gents have an interest in healthy food, pride themselves in being able to appreciate quality, have an understanding of the uncertainty of the sustainability of our food supply and can handle themselves in the kitchen (and the backyard grill) when the menu suits their skills. But it was local women who sat down and sent a note to me that said, "Is there room for me in your CSA?"
Big difference. And a light went off in my head. I know how to speak to the issues that men have identified in economic and political terms. But really, our farm is serving local women, which should not be surprising. And yet...it was to me. So. Why are women leading the way? And what do I do to serve the female consumers who are driving the change Susan and I have invested everything in? They'll decide what they want and how they want it. What will that Dunn Creek Farm look like?