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For 200 families in my hometown of Northfield, Minnesota,visits to the local supermarket tend to be very short. They get their fruits and vegetables directly from the farm.
I'm back at my US home in Northfield, Minnesota for three weeks visiting my 95-year-old mother. She doesn't drive any more and her hearing has largely gone, but otherwise she is in remarkably good condition I had an interesting experience yesterday and I thought you might want to come along.
Once a week throughout the growing season, harvestshareholders come to directly to the Open Hands Farm to pick up their portionof the produce Photos by Suchart Lotscher.
When the "supermarket" is a working farm
For most of us, the food we eat at home comes from the localmarket or supermarket. We have little idea of where it originates and no idea of who grows it.
A partialview of the farm with the parked cars of shareholders whose gatheringday is Wednesday.
For 200 families in my hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, however, the sourceof much of their food is no mysteryat all. They gather it themselves from a localfarm just outside of town and have a nice chat with farm operators Erin Johnson and Ben Doherty at the same time.
Each year, participatingfamilies buy shares in the harvestranging in price from $475 (about 14,700 baht) to $600 (baht 18,600). Then, once a week throughout the growing season from April until October, they come to the farm to gather their portionof the produce Much of this is already picked and washed, but some they can pick themselves.
Picking beans, Thai style. My wife covers up to keep off the hot July sun next to my uncovered brother.
Yesterday, my brother and his wife, who are shareholders in this year's harvest were out in the fields picking beans and peas — with my wife, who grew up on a Thai rice farm, helping out.
Altogether, the "Open Hands Farm" offers 270 varietiesof vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. All are produced organically with no pesticideusage at all.
Organic farming, says Erin, is an acquired skillwhich involves constantlearning and constantproblem-solving (handling pest infestations, for example). The shareholders are kept up to date on the statusof the farm, so it is a learning experience for them too. Most, importantly, it is a hands-onexperience and a wonderful introduction to the world of food for the many young children who accompanytheir parents to the farm.
The conceptis known as "community-supported agriculture(CSA)" and it has expanded rapidlysince its introduction to the United States from Europe in the 1980s. At last count, there were more than 12,000 CSA farms in the United States. The Open Hands Farm is not only community supported, but it supports the community as well, donating all food not taken by the shareholders.
For the many children who accompanytheir parents into the fields, there is no mysterywhere their food comes from.
For more information on the Open Hands Farm, go to http://www.openhandsfarm.com
Learn from listening
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accompany: to go with someone - ไปกับ,ไปด้วยกัน,ไปเป็นเพื่อน
acquired skill: a skill that requires training rather than a natural ability -
agriculture: the science or practice of farming - เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร
concept: a principle or idea - ความคิด
condition: the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place - สภาพ
constant: continuous; all the time - ต่อเนื่อง
donate: to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a temple, charity, school, political party, etc. - บริจาค
expand: to make or become larger - ขยาย
gathering: the process of collecting something - การรวบรวม
hands-on: doing something rather than just talking about it or learning about it -
harvest: the activity of collecting a crop, in this case a rice crop - การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
herb: a plant normally used as a medicine or for adding flavour to food - สมุนไพร
infestation: a situation in which a lot of insects or animals are in a place and are causing damage or disease -
involve: to be an important or necessary part or result of something - เกี่ยวพัน, พัวพัน
local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
mystery: not explained or known - สิ่งที่ไม่สามารถอธิบายได้, ความแปลกประหลาด, ลึกลับ
operator: a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
organic: produced or practised without using artificial chemicals - (เกษตรกรรม)เชิงชีวภาพ
originate: to come from a particular place, time, situation, etc - มาจาก, ริเริ่มจาก
partial: in part, but not complete - บางส่วน
participating: taking part in something - เข้าร่วม
pesticide: a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops - ยาฆ่าแมลง
pests: insects or small animals which are harmful and annoying - คนหรือสัตว์ที่รบกวน
portion: a part of something - ส่วน
produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming - ผลผลิต, ผลิตผล
rapidly: happening quickly - อย่างรวดเร็ว
share: one part of something that is divided between two or more people - ส่วน
shareholder: a person who owns some of the equal parts into which the ownership of a company is divided - ผู้ถือหุ้น
source: the place or person or something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something - ต้นกำเนิด, แหล่งกำเนิด
status: position - สถานภาพ
varieties: a type of a thing, for example a plant or language, that is different from the others in the same general group - พันธุ์