Connecting the Community

I have a fear of commitment.

I love the freedom and spontaneity of no commitments. I thrive in being able to pick up and go as the mood strikes. Give me 20 minutes, and I’m ready to go.

If I commit to nothing, I can do anything.

That’s why I’ve never bought in to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. While I love the idea of a weekly injection of farm-fresh fruits and veggies, we spend most of the summer on the road. We camp. We take day trips. We take extended camping trips for days. Last summer, between family vacation and work-related travel, I was home for six non-consecutive days over a 30-day period.

CSA won’t really work in this house.

Enter Fredericton-based Real Food Connections. Order your veggie box weekly. And, as of last week, they deliver to Moncton. It’s a perfect way for those of us who fear long-term commitments but want to eat fresh, local food. The uncertainty of not knowing exactly what will turn up in the box totally feeds my love of surprises.

As I was savouring the idea of RFC starting delivery to Moncton, I realized I would finally be able to have some Local Valley Beef of my own to cook. Owned by CJ and Jennie MacLeod, the cattle are raised near Centreville, N.B.

CJ was mentored by an old friend of my husband’s and we all mourned when Bill died last year. CJ’s high school principal was the best man at my parent’s wedding. One of my farm writer colleagues is a former classmate of his and another farm writer colleague knows CJ from a previous job. There are probably more connections waiting to be discovered.

Farmers — and other businesses — hear all of the time about the need to make connections. You know: tell your story and let the world know more about farming.

I completely agree with the need to tell your stories. You have awesome stories to tell and customers indeed want to know where their food comes from. Luckily, tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs help your story-telling a bit easier to facilitate (especially after you learn how to use them effectively!).

But don’t feel like you need to stop at social media for telling your story. There are other ways to make connections; real-world moments that are just as, if not more, valuable.

Going to church, participating in your kids’ sports activities, joining the local chamber of commerce or a service group… these are ways to create a solid network of non-farming people around you.

By telling the story of Canadian agriculture within your broader community, you draw non-farmers into your community circle. The overlapping communities create an environment of mutual support and respect.

It was a collection of serendipitous circumstances that will result in me enjoying some nice barbecues this summer while I travel. And while Community Supported Agriculture vegetable boxes aren’t something that fits with my life right now, certainly supporting my community of agriculture is.

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