Potatoes and people

Seeding potatoes

Finishing off the potato planting. Sherry is a second year CSA member, Brian a regular customer at the farmers’ market. They both approached me to get into the field for a bit, and it fit with the People Year on this tiny farm. It’s fun and it’s tricky. Each little step away from the ultra simple model of just me and the field brings on more considerations along with whatever the improvement—in this case, the basic pleasure of sharing work that’s fun to do!

For the main fieldwork jobs, I want to provide compensation. Of course, with cheap supermarket produce prices setting the standard, farm work is…real low paying. I’ve given it some thought in the last few weeks, and it doesn’t make sense to me to run a small farm based mainly on volunteer work, it doesn’t sound all that…sustainable. Still, volunteering is common with small organic farms (and I signed up for WWOOF this year). Anyhow, my plan so far is to divide work into the absolutely necessary and the not so critical. For example, maintaining the herb and flower beds in pristine condition is not something I’d do, basic care is what I have time for, but it’d be great to have volunteers do that. Things like timely seeding, cultivation and harvest are…central. These, I really want to pay for if I can’t do it myself. I’m working it out. How it unfolds this year will be interesting!! (I guess that’s what BIG farm families were for! :)

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4 thoughts on “Potatoes and people”

  1. Adela: I don’t really do link exchanges, I just link to the blogs I read, and blog reading time is rapidly diminishing as the season progresses. I’ll check out your site as soon as I can, and feel free to link to TFB! :)

  2. Have you considered a sling-type shoulder bag for planting potatoes? That way you can just reach in the bag and drop them, as opposed to carrying a large, heavy tote the whole lenth of the field. Just a thought. :-)

  3. Hey Amanda: Yeah, that sounds like it might be good. There’s one of those classic old canvas newspaper delivery bags hanging in the barn. That might work as a prototype! There are always a million things that can be improved, and I manage to get around to a few at a time… The trugs in the picture are easy enough for this small scale (300 lbs). It’s easy to cut seed potatoes into them (I usually cut up one 50 lb bag at a time). You can pour one into another, which comes in handy for filling up to a weight each person can handle. And they’re flexible, they handles can be held together for carrying on the way to a bed. But they’re a bit deep for comfortably reaching into, particularly as you get to the bottom. I’ll keep the bag idea in mind…maybe next year!

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