Annual Membership Meeting via Zoom (11/8/20), and a Message from Farmer Dan
Greetings current, past and prospective members of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor! Please share this message widely.
By way of introduction, however imperfect it may be, my name is Dan Gannon. In this life between birth and death, I’ve made it my work to care for my fellow humans and the Earth itself. You’ve invited me to be your farmer and I have accepted your invitation.
I expressed my wish to get here in the fall, so that my daughter could start the school year with her new classmates at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. You gave me your support, made the move from California possible (4 days of driving my 1987 Chevy flatbed pickup loaded with any useful farm gear I had held onto over the years) and granted me a salary to begin my work upon arrival. There is certainly plenty of work to be done at present.
All parts of the whole farm are getting attention. The tractors have never run so good (so I’m told); the farm has never looked so tidy (so I’m told); tools have been repaired and sharpened; the enchanted forest animal corridor is being reclaimed and our fencing situation is being mended; compost materials are being collected and piles built; winter cover crops are germinating in tilled and no-tilled fields alike; we’re weeding and working together each week in a way that is safe and satisfying.
Additionally, I’m emptying, thoroughly cleaning and reorganizing the barns, which will serve as the heart space of our day to day farming operations. From one side, our activities are pastoral in nature. We need to tend the animals, protect the soil by not tilling where we don’t have to, mark the time required for the slow process of trees bearing fruit, trust that the sun will rise again each day, find our place on Earth between the firm foundation beneath our feet and the firmament of Heaven above. Under the influence of the moon, the barn named Miriam serves as a cornerstone for our essential work.
On the other side, we find innovative ways of working with nature through technology. We observe what nature has given us and engage our own activity of thinking to become more generative in our work, ride a solar-powered electric tractor to gain the economy of labor without the harmful cost of petrol products, fabricate tools and implements to execute our experiments with new production methods, monitor conditions in the greenhouse and make minor adjustments to create the optimal environment for growth. Shining in the light of the sun, the barn named Wilfred acts as a keystone for our strivings.
And in the space between, on a grass covered patch of earth, we gather and stir the Biodynamic horn-manure spray, meet and enjoy each other and sing. This is all possible thanks to the generous donations and dedicated volunteer efforts of members.
The work we’re doing now is in anticipation of the year to come. Accordingly, we’re planning for our annual member meeting (for the 2021 growing season) to take place next month, that our conversation may be oriented around the upcoming needs of the farm and that our decisions will be informed by our activity over the course of the full year.
The Community Farm of Ann Arbor is the local leader of community supported agriculture (CSA). An essential characteristic of an authentic CSA agreement is the mutual commitment between farmers and eaters. From the one hand, the eaters “invest” in the farm operation for a year at a time, buying farm shares. By providing a secured income early in the year, the community mitigates the risk that the farmer would typically carry individually. Similarly, by knowing how many members to plant for, we can plan the year’s work more accurately. From the other hand, the farmers likewise “invest” in the early part of the year through the activity of observation and thinking that goes into planning for the year, experiencing the joys and sorrows of germinating seeds and unexpected losses, and the efforts of hard labor.
As the harvest comes in, the individual farmer forgoes the opportunity to sell the produce for as much profit as possible, instead sharing it equally among the group of farm members. If the beans provide abundantly, we’re all eating and canning beans all summer long; if the potatoes grow poorly, there may only be a few scant spuds for each of us to enjoy. But most importantly, this frees up the relationship to allow for mutual support and genuine goodwill among the community. Our activities don’t have to be dictated by the demands for profit but instead can demonstrate the value of caring for each other and the earth. You can’t find food like this anywhere else.
I’m inviting you to participate in the Community Farm of Ann Arbor this year. Please plan to attend our annual member meeting for the 2021 growing season, November 8th from 1-3pm via Zoom. Please email: communityfarminfo@gmail for the Zoom invitation link. At our annual meeting, I will present a budget for the farm operations and we will determine CSA share costs, allowing for a sliding scale. If would like to be in the loop about all farm happenings, please use this link http://eepurl.com/bw6sGz to get on the farm email list to receive additional announcements about CSA shares for next year.
In the meantime, you are welcome to come on out and meet me at the farm on our regular work days (Thursdays 9-12 and Saturdays 10-1) or by special arrangement. All communications can be directed to the farm email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue our work together under the banner of “All things grow with love”. See you soon.
Dan Gannon, farmer
The Community Farm of Ann Arbor