Friday 15 August 2014

Peanut Butter Spelt Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Peanut butter spelt cookies with chocolate chips.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
1 duck egg
1 1/4 cup light spelt or while spelt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Preheat oven to 375
In a stand mixer, beat until smooth the butter, peanut butter, egg, and sugar.
Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Spoon onto a cookie sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Sunday 10 August 2014

The Heart of Farming

Spelt and Einkorn

There are two worlds of field crop agriculture.
The mainstream agroindustrial system, and everything else.
They blend at the edges, but also show clear divisions.

Conventional farms belong to a well managed supply and distribution web.
The business formula and methodology is spelled out with assurance and backed by government ministry.
Typical crops include field corn, soybeans, wheat, and some oats and barley.
Corn and soy overshadow everything else; significantly.
Virtually all field crops are used to feed livestock.

Farms are well connected to a predictable distribution chain.
Farmers are well connected to seed companies and government guidance.
It's a well oiled, and tightly controlled system.


Then there are the others. 
Typically organic or biodynamic, they are run by those who farm on the margin.
Unconventional in many ways, these farms struggle to find their place.
Alternative methods and crop choices divide these farmers from the readily accepted norm.

Information is scarce.
Support is thin.
And the market is elusive.

Most often, these are the reformists.
The dreamers; driven by passion.
Outliers overshadowed by an infinity of conformity.


Operating outside of the system often means greater risk.
The incentives are elusive and failure is only one twist of fate away.
Crop yields are lower when you're farming using sustainable methods.
The soil is heart and soul, not simply a growing medium.

Alternative endeavours are usually small scale ventures.
Minimal capital means working with outdated and weary equipment.
It means scavenging for unwanted machines, cast away by the modern conventional farms.

There is no manual.
The neighbouring farms may be disdainful.
Government agents indifferent.
Friends and family, skeptical.

Volunteer Buckwheat








Self Determination




Our blessing is to be given the opportunity to work with these people.
We play a role in making connections and offering support where we can.
And by promoting agricultural systems that will be strong and lasting throughout generations.

The real reward is the challenge of agricultural reform,
and the hope that comes along with it.
We draw strength from the passion of others.

Farming has always been known for heartbreak and failure.
There is a great deal of burden.
Not everyone survives.

The problem is that food is a commodity.

The farmer's livelihood depends on the the whims of the marketplace,
and the ebb and flow of crop yields.
Wisdom, knowledge and hard work alone are not enough to weather the market system.
When crops are good, prices drop.
When there is failure, precious few prosper.
This is true of both agricultural worlds.

But that is the past.
And so it should be.

Undeterred by the obstacles, more and more people dream of meeting the challenge of farming.
Young families, seasoned workers, retired professionals, all disenchanted with the status quo, 
looking for change,
looking for more.

And there is more.
I have seen it.
In the hard won successes.
In the face of adversity.
In the people who forge their own destiny.
In the field.
In the heart.

Ripening Buckwheat

And what about you?