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April 22, 2010

Under the Turlock Sun

Dreamstime_13818931 My friend and co-worker, 50-something Janelle, did a 360 degree turnaround in her life last year. She purchased a foreclosure property--a farm to be exact. From living in the suburbs as an empty-nester single mom knowing little about farming, Janelle set out to fulfill a life-long dream of owning a farm. 

Janelle spent the first year on her farm cleaning up what had been a former rental property. She put up fences, made the house nicely livable and repaired what was broken. She purchased chickens, turkeys, sheep,  and a donkey. The amount of work she has done in just one year building her dream farm is staggering. I suggested she write a blog about her farm, a sort of adventure journal, but Janelle is "just too busy for blogging." 

Recently Janelle updated me on her progress with the farm. She has planted fruit trees and soon will add large quantities of assorted vegetables. Forty-five more chickens and a few more turkeys will be arriving this week as her chicken coops are being completed. Next year she plans to sell organic produce and the eggs from her cage-free chickens as part of a farm co-operative venture. 

A farm co-operative is an earth-friendly way of bringing farmers and consumers together. Consumers join the co-op, purchase shares of the farm for their family's food needs and get a portion of the farm's yield throughout the year. The customer enjoys the healthful benefits of fresh, usually organic, farm products. The farmers benefit by selling direct to the consumer as well as by getting their income early in the year. It is a mostly win-win proposition with infrequent, real problems such as poor crop yields and farm foreclosures.

Another friend and co-worker, fellow blogger , has used a co-op to obtain organic produce for a couple of years now. She enjoys trying new recipes using vegetables she has never purchased before. Jessica introduced me to (CSA), a network of farmers who sell direct to the consumer. CSA has a national listing of sellers for all kinds of agricultural products so you can easily locate the farms in your area or where you might be visiting. Farmer's markets and roadside produce stands are also other types of CSA locations. , 'America's leading organic and local websiteis another great source for finding nearby growers and keeping informed on issues facing farmers.

This week is the . There is still so much we moms can do to improve the environment and preserve the earth for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thinking globally and acting locally is a good way to start. Like Janelle, we can work towards creating what is ideal for our future as well as good for the earth's. Like Jessica, we can put into practice new habits that help ourselves and our community. Like myself, you can draw inspiration for changes to make in your own life (as well as blogs to write) from your earth-conscious friends.

Sharon also blogs at Channeling Ricky. This is an original post to the .

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