Sun, Oil & Tourist Dollars

As Super-storm Sandy left the northeast, we realized how central the farm could be to neighborhood resilience. The large generator needed to protect our walk-in refrigerator and freezer also keeps our pump and heat running. As loved ones suffered great losses and struggled for basic needs in New Jersey, we realized that should this region face such a crisis, we’d likely be a bit of an oasis. Whether we ever need to be a storm shelter or not, it is satisfying to see food security but humbling to know the level of destruction possible from mega storms.

When visiting our farm earlier this summer Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross remarked about Vermont agriculture’s

VT Agriculture Sec'y Ross with members of the Floating Bridge Food & Farms Coop at the Randolph Farm to School event

great potential to generate wealth. He acknowledged that we still rely on fossil fuel inputs but beyond that his assessment is that all we need to succeed is to harness the “sun and tourist dollars”. No one in this part of the country harvested much sun this October! But our pasture-raised chicken, turkey, goat and pork in the freezer are the way we “grass-farmers” capture the sun’s energy, growing the grass and browse our hills are great at producing, and moving our animals to eat it and translate that energy to food.

So then the question is, what about these tourist dollars? The fact is Vermont is sparsely populated and has long relied on cash infusions from tourists to flourish. And sustainable agriculture and the farm fresh food are universally attractive, especially to ever-growing numbers of foodies!

Iki Nawagawa’s film screening last week at the Park Slope Food Coop was a spectacular opportunity to begin to reach this core audience. We are grateful for Iki’s efforts and excited to continue to connect with those who gathered with curiosity and encouragement. And we continue to work hard with neighbors and the Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative to cluster our offers to compel visits.

Offer to Park Slope Coop Members

On our way home from the New York, moods were sobered by scores of long chains of electric trucks, returning from hard-hit storm damaged areas. But moods were elevated when the independent hotel we selected had a restaurant that not only served local, pasture-raised meat. It served raw milk! And the menu was seasonally designed, including a nightly changing pork dish as the chef works his way around the whole pig. Spending our tourist dollars on Poconos agriculture was delicious and satisfying!