We were recently interviewed about the government shutdown and how it's impacting our farm. Change doesn't come by looking the other way. We are all in the same boat and need to be heard. Be a voice.
Many thanks to Caroline Powers and Western Mass News for the opportunity.
Local farmers feeling the impact of partial government shutdown
WGGB/WSHM Ryan Trowbridge & Caroline Powers
HATFIELD, MA - Monday marks day 24 of the government shutdown.
800,000 federal workers continue to go without pay and with major departments being closed, the people they help are also left in the dark, creating a bigger impact.
One group that people might not realize rely heavily on federal dollars are local farmers.
A Hatfield farmer told us they are really feeling the effects of the shutdown.
For the past eight years, Harrison Bardwell has continued his family's long history of farming.
"This farm was actually established in 1685. Yes, you heard me, 1685. I'm ninth generation farmer, eleventh generation Bardwell in this town. We go back quite a way," Bardwell noted.
The farm has 15 acres full of carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables.
"We've been farming this land for hundreds of years and it's pretty cool to think about and I continue to keep it going, so I look forward to it," Bardwell explained.
However, right now, Bardwell is facing multiple obstacles as he tries to continue his family's legacy.
"We're dealing with situations with money issues. This past season was pretty tough crop wise with the rain and excessive heat. We experienced a lot of crop loss, lower yields," Bardwell noted.
While crop loss is a concern, Bardwell told Western Mass News it's something farmers are used to dealing with. He can usually make up for it with crop insurance from the USDA, but right now, that's on-hold as the government shutdown continues.
"All the work I had to do is in and now I'm sitting here and waiting not knowing when I'm going to get a check or how much that check is going to be. I have a grant out for harvest bins and I can't talk to my rep that's dealing with it. I can't go to the USDA office in Hadley right now or call them if I have questions regarding my insurance or my loan that I have out with them. It's nerve racking to not know when we're going to get answers or when we're going to get paid and for farming, we don't get a check every day," Bardwell explained.
Bardwell said their 2019 season will start in about two to three months. He's taking a closer look at his budget and expenses to see what he'll be able to do as the shutdown continues.
You hear it all of the time, "know your food, know your farmer", but now more than ever we have to take these words more seriously. A CSA is the perfect way to make those words a reality!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way to bring together the consumer, farmers, farmland and the food they grow into a mutually beneficial relationship that sustains local agriculture, ensures greater food security, and strengthens the local community and economy.
In this blog we will explain to you what a CSA actually is, how it works and how it may benefit you!
HOW DOES A CSA WORK?
A CSA is a model where you purchase a seasonal farm share up front at the start of the season from a local farm. This means you are "investing" in the farm for that season and in return you are taking the reward and risk of the bounty the growing season offers. For example, if a crop is doing very well you will get your appropriate share and maybe more. On the other hand if crops are doing poor due to weather, or other natural issues you may take a risk in not receiving much during a particular week.
To give you an idea of how a CSA share may run here is an example how a few farms in the area structure theirs.
This season Bardwell Farm will offer a "choice share" to CSA members. Members will pick up their share by choosing from a variety of products available and quantities designated by our farm through the season.
Keep reading to see how a CSA benefits you and your local farm!
6 CSA BENEFITS FOR YOU & THE FARMER
WHY IS CSA SO IMPORTANT?
Community Supported Agriculture is the stepping stone to sustainability. It helps you, your local farm, the people who grow your food, the local community, our environment and the Earth.
Please join us in our new adventure! We look forward to building new relationships and strengthening old ones.
Are you excited about joining our CSA? Click here for more information and see our brand new signup page!
Follow Bardwell Farm and all of our adventures here, at Homegrown News!
Give the gift of a CSA farm share or farmstand goods with gift certificate from Bardwell Farm!
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