Just.Write.Food is embarking on a new project and we need your help.
Will you support the cause?
There is nothing better than a good read about farming life and growing food. The sense of season, appreciation of nature, care for small details, and the beautiful narration of hard work - all so aptly captured by those whose livelihood is growing food and writing about it. First hand accounts of living in cooperation with the land - from those who practice, endure and savor it on a daily basis - pass along the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it truly means to be a farmer.
From Wendell Berry to Michael Ableman to David Mas Masumoto to new farmer-writers including Kurt Timmermeister and Kristin Kimball, there is a wealth of well-thought, well-written, well-edited writings about the farming experience direct from the pens of those who live it. These writers enrich us with genuine emotion and truth, enhanced by the beauty of the well-written word. It may be that farmers have sufficient time for contemplation (on the tractor, weeding, harvesting) and those with a scribner's leaning take that time to notice, and then internally translate the agrarian experience into mental prose...and then later (after work, in the dark hours before bed or before work) transcribe, made permanent by pen onto paper.
People who care enough to hone the blades of hoes and nibs of pens are a special lot, and they are not limited to the polished and edited writers above. There are others who regularly convey a farming message from the source to share how really hard and beautiful it is to grow food for other. These are small farmers, connecting with their audience of consumers, CSA members, farmers' market shoppers and dedicated fans, through CSA newsletters, weekly blog posts, farmers' market updates, and all the creative ways to connect. Amidst the chaos of plant-cultivate-harvest and feed-water-milk, small-scale and family farmers are marketing their goods and stories through the written word. These regular writings display it all, with a soft candor of dirt under the fingernails: glimpses of the intersection of farming and family life, ongoing battles with renegade roosters and heartbreaking loss of a late season hail storm. These less formal writings, often scribbled or typed in a few spare minutes between physical labor and sleep or in a cluttered farm "office," elegantly convey in an impossibly authenic voice the true amount of labor, risk, planning, cost and love that contribute to the cultivation of our nourishment.
Each week, Just.Write.Food will feature an excerpt from a farmer's tidbit written to share the farm news with customers. The feature with include the farm, location, excerpt and links to blogs or other newsletters. Consider it a small offering of gratitude to those who grow our food, and an opportunity to share their reflections of striking, heartfelt, original, spur of the moment and insightful words to convey the sentiments of the farming life.
Your Help, Please?
This new writing endeavor needs a name - and no better place to turn for inspiration than food and farm loving readers and writers. Some already suggested titles for this project include: Pens to Pasture (or frankly - Pasture to Pens), Hoes Down, Pens Up, Just Write Farm and Pen & Stink (or Pig Pen & Ink). But quite frankly, your help is needed in finding the perfect name for this project. We're hosting a tiny contest to inspire you to help. You are invited to submit your suggestions for the name of this project ~ and if we pick your suggested title you will receive a one-of-a-kind handwritten post card from Madison, WI. (I know that's a big incentive, don't all crowd the computer at once!) Submit your names of choice to firstname.lastname@example.org or as a comment at the end of this blog post by the first day of fall. We need a name ~ and we need your help.
Also needed are more writing pieces from farmers to provide the fodder for your reading pleasure. Please send CSA newsletters, favorite farm blog posts, farm newsletters and any farmer-writing that has touched you to email@example.com or post the name of the farm or blog in the comments section below. Feel free to forward along good reads on an ongoing basis - especially you folks who live in year-round growing climates.