F227: F.A.R.M.

"I think we need to take back our language. I want to call my organic carrots ‘carrots’ and let [other farmers] call theirs a chemical carrot. And they can list all of the ingredients that they used instead of me having to be certified. The burden is on us to prove something. Let them prove that they used only 30 chemicals instead of 50 to produce an apple."

MaryJane Butters said the above and I cheer. She is a farmer with real credentials according to today’s article at Epicurious: Chew the Right Thing where her F.A.R.M. Project (First-class American Rural Made) products are recommended. Specifically, Ali writes:

Call it Ethicurean guilt if you will, but I need to talk this one through.

MaryJane Butters, the woman behind this food, is the original farm girl. Okay, maybe she’s not the original farm girl, but she sure looks the part. She’s an organic farmer who grew up canning garden-fresh food and wearing hand-sewn clothes. After stints as a single mother, carpenter, and wilderness ranger, MaryJane purchased a five-acre homestead in Idaho, sight unseen. Since then, she’s been farming this land — and then 100 more adjacent acres, after she married a neighbor farmer — in high style.
The New Yorker speaks to her marketing,
I think of myself as a food scientist and a farmer,” she says. Butters is a farmer the way Martha Stewart is a housewife. Tells about her magazine, MaryJanesFarm, which she started five years ago. “I branded myself,” she says. “It creates a forum for me to talk about farming.

This is key as I see it to the Epicurious perspective. This smart woman is using all of this branding and packaged products as a bridge to a life more sustainable. We are as a culture caught in a grip of consumerism that dictates everything. This farmer sees that she needs to reach people in ways they are able to hear and understand.

We’ve really devalued food in our minds and what ends up on our plate. We’ve devalued it and laced it with chemicals and the cheap food hasn’t worked out long-term. I think that I sell not just good wholesome food, but I also sell hope. People crave that.

Speaking of hope, she also runs a farm school called PayDirt.

Pay Dirt Farm School is our non-profit educational program offering farm apprenticeships. The program provides practical experience for individuals who value common sense and introduces them to the operations of an organic farm. The school's mission is to cultivate organic farmers and eaters. The school was founded with the belief that the elimination of deadly pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, along with the maintenance of healthy living soil and the rebuilding of local communities, all play a major role in the development of individuals whose thoughts, dreams and actions create positive change.

And something dear to my heart, The Farmgirl Sisterhood is a membership only group that provides a real formum for women in this farming venture. So much of the symbology and structure of this reminds me of my years and years in Camp Fire Girls, Inc. This Farmgirl Sistergood is a wonderful opportunity for young girls and women too. The logo is a hexagon, one of my favorite shapes (which almost haunts me in my dreams). The shape is reminiscent of the chicken wire and speaks to the zen of the honeybee hive. Love. It.

Okay, I am done swooning and not even tempted to start consuming the F.A.R.M. brand. Packaged goods and cute attack tschotchke don't speak to me. I just have a real appreciation for the drive and the vision of this brilliant woman.


daharja said...

I love this. But the chances of getting food labelled with all the ingredients used to make the food are absolutely NIL. Most 'farmers' use so many chemicals they don't even know what they are, and there is no way they would support this. And politicians just aren't ethical these days.

katecontinued said...

True that. But, the vital thing is that we think that way. Nobody can stop me from calling the grocery store, Agri-business versions factory -food or chemical food. And we can call our local, our garden foods simply food, real food.

Beany said...

I think its a matter of time before you get your wish of calling a carrot a carrot. I wouldn't have thought this possible before the trans fat ban, but now I feel that after awhile its just going to get difficult to hide the bad stuff.

Thanks for the MaryJane reminder. I remember looking at her B&B years ago and really liking the rustic-ness of it. I think it was one of the many things I found online that warmed me up to the idea of camping rustically.

katecontinued said...

I hope you are right beany.