What’s in my Share?
Romaine Head Lettuce
Sugar Snap Peas
Stir Fry Peas
Farmers are often thought of as reclusive, avoiding the dredges of traffic-logged commutes, onerous bosses, not-so neighborly feuds, and political skirmishes; removed, hidden within storybook nature-scapes in the midst of the fairies, elves, and other woodland creatures. Contrary to these musings, most farmers shudder at, and actively resist the temptation toward escape, continually studying and learning about the world, while practicing, demonstrating, and sharing that knowledge with those around them. Not to mention the ages old rivalry between us farmers and the rest of the woodfolk. One way we stay tuned into, learn about, and relate to the world around us, is by listening to Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now”, a daily independent news program.
This past Monday, while harvesting Peas and Beans for the CSA, we were moved to tears listening to horrific reports of family separation, children in cages, and a multitude of people leaving their homes, communities, and loved ones; risking their lives, crossing deserts, being confronted by vigilantes and police, and ultimately being detained in concentration camps. All this in a desperate hope for some semblance of a brighter future for themselves and their families. We couldn’t help thinking of our nieces and nephews, and of the parents and children who come to the farm on Tuesday evenings to pick up their CSA share or who visit us at our weekend farmers markets.
One thing we often overlook when simplifying humans to the status of “illegal immigrant” is their story. The truth is, the vast majority of the people coming to the US from Latin America were once the local farmers of their homelands. The techniques, practices, and even ideologies of indigenous and peasant farmers, in many ways, resemble those of our own farm. We owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude and respect to the generations of indigenous, peasant, and family farmers who came before us and who continue to share their wisdom.
Sadly, but not by accident, decades of US economic and military imperialism in Latin America has left local governments destabilized, emboldened warlords and dictators, and plundered the land. What once were small-scale, local-serving, self-subsistent, indigenous-operated, diversified farms similar to ours, are being consolidated into multinational, monopolistic, monoculture agribusiness plantations that are geared towards growing commodities for international export rather than local food. Similar agriculture policies that once swept across the US rural landscape, cutting the farming population from well over half the population to less than 2% in a matter of generation, now spread into the land and lives of our Southern neighbors under the guise of “economic development” and the “Green Revolution.”
As observed and documented by Food First, a people’s Think Tank, “wars, coups, foreign interventions, the privatization of state services, the expansion of the “Green Revolution” and extractive industries in the name of development, the dumping of subsidized grain from the Global North, the lucrative trade in human beings and narcotics, and now climate change… has led to a massive social and economic breakdown in Southern countries. The destruction of livelihoods and the return of paramilitaries and gangs have torn entire populations from their homes. Families are migrating by the hundreds of thousands to escape the economic destruction and physical terror resulting from three decades of neoliberal globalization. In an attempt to control the increasing flows of refugees, the United States… have criminalized unauthorized immigration and militarized their borders“ (Food First Backgrounder).
As foreign demand, neoliberal trade policies, and covert and overt military power of the US surround what remains of Latin America’s local farmers, many find themselves forced to wager everything, in hopes for some relief from decades of heartache. Live and work on a plantation or in free trade zone, move to an urban slum, or go North become the landless farmer’s only options. People do not simply become immigrants; we must look beyond the present and look upstream at events preceding to better understand and holistically respond to the current suffering. We should be empowering and looking towards Latin American peasants, indigenous, and landless farmers for leadership and guidance as we face the increasingly dire and interconnected dilemmas of climate change and the unrelenting greed, expansion, and oppression of our current economic order.
La Via Campesina!
When the summer temperatures start getting hotter, so do the radishes! One thing we love to do with our spicy summer radishes, is to roast them. They are super tender and sweet when roasted, a great addition to a salad or any other dish.
Roasted Radishes, Green Beans, and Summer Squash
1 bunch radishes (quartered or halved, whichever you prefer)
Green beans (tops cut off, but left whole)
Summer Squash (cut into ½-1 inch cubes)
Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss radishes and beans with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay on a baking sheet and cook for 18-20 mins, stirring once in the middle of cooking. The radishes and beans should look slightly wilted and caramelized. For some extra flavor, toss them with cold butter after cooking. Put this on top of a salad, rice, eggs, or just eat plain.