Friday, March 21, 2008

Mea Culpa

I must confess that I have been guilty of acute smugness.

For the past three years, I have stood before you and preached the benefits of eating locally; of growing your own food, of living off the industrial food grid.

Transportation costs are high, global climate change is a huge worry, eating the best possible food you can grow is essential to great health -- these have been my mantras.

The fatal flaw was that on Monday mornings, after giving my homily, I would whip out my cell phone, call my grain supplier in Canada and order pallets of grain for my animals. Pallets. Driven down from Canada. Yes, pallets full.

Surprisingly I was just fine with this for years. The irony never struck me until very recently. I had read years ago about English farming methods of growing fodder crops for livestock. An email a few weeks ago reminded me of this idea -- growing your own food for your animals. What a novel concept. One would think that this would have occurred to me earlier.

So, with the benefit of Google, I managed to locate seed. We have lost this farming tradition here in this country, but Great Britain has not. I found a supplier of large leafy fodder kale in Scotland and a seed company in Dorset that mailed over seeds for mangels (large beets), turnips, chicory for pigs and large cabbages. Open pollinated dent corn was still available in this country and trucked in from Vermont. Tomorrow the field will be plowed and tilled to plant the new crops, with luck by fall there will be a store room filled with food -- local food --- for the animals here.

Accept my apologies. We are all always learning new tricks.

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