March 27, 2019 – By Terry Kelzer
I have to say everything.
It continues to amaze me how lucky we are to have such a forward-looking organization here in small-town Amery, delivering probably the most important message of our time: that we must be careful not to poison the land and water where we live; we need to relearn the almost forgotten arts of taking care of our land and water so we will have something left to pass on to our children.
I especially appreciate how each person associated with Farm Table brings different talents to the table; they all blend together to make visiting a memorable experience. The food, the art, and the education: how many places are there where you can eat, enjoy the ambience, and learn something at the same time?
My family came to this area in the early 1970s hoping to grow most of our own food because we did not trust the food commonly sold in grocery stores. My husband suffered from serious illness most of his life; he believed that the food we were eating contributed to his challenges. Besides not tasting very good, it often had added flavors that we associated with pesticides and herbicides.
When we came to the farm, we set about to raise nearly everything we would need to eat, which is a daunting task all on one’s own. We always had extra fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat, and it seemed logical that we try to sell those extras to support our chosen lifestyle. However, we found that the marketing and selling required a great deal of energy; we were already pretty spent working off-farm jobs and raising our family. We found it was pretty impossible to have to market our farm’s bounty while keeping up with best farming practices (to take just one example, how to properly save seeds—all my varieties blended into other varieties).
So, it is Farm Table’s outreach to farmers—with help on everything from soil health, to seed saving, to growing organic food—along with the ways the organization seeks to help market farmers’ products that I find especially valuable. Take it from someone who tried to do it alone—I only wish Farm Table had existed in 1972.