Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Corn Crop

Back in the fall, I talked with my farmer friend, Arthur Black.  I asked him about corn.  And planting.  I asked specifically what type of corn he grew, because I knew he paid an awful lot for seed.  And GMO seed is supposedly very expensive.  And so, I was thinking that maybe that was what he was buying and therefore what I was eating.

Now, the thing about GMO is that it makes a bigger, prettier, bug free crop.  But farmers are paying a premium price to grow that seed and the company that produces that seed is making a ton of money and then suing farmers if they save seed from year to year or if their crop cross pollinates in the wind and they didn't pay the company for that other seed in that other field.  And I am eating something very pretty that is costing the farmer and that bugs won't touch.  


I have this thing about my food.  I like it to be natural.  I have this funny quirk where I feel that back when plants were rotated and crops were grown using last year's seed harvest and nature seemed to do its rhythm thing and there was a dance between the farmer and nature and the growing process that food was better.  Maybe it is silly of me.  Maybe I have developed some type of nostalgia for a life I know very little about.  But I like knowing about my food.  And I like to think that if I harvest seeds from my hobby garden, then certainly the farmer should be able to harvest seed too.

This whole ethical conundrum I find myself a part of doesn't bother Arthur.  He likes the GMO corn because it has its benefits, despite the cost and the company threats.

He actually has a farmer friend in Columbia, SC that recently paid that company several hundred thousand dollars for breaking the rules somehow.  He either saved some extra seed or accidentally caused the wind to cross pollinate right before the company came to town.  But either way, it was a big mistake.  Not kidding.

Anyway....GMO corn produces twice as many husks per stalk and takes less water.  It is bug resistant since it was genetically mixed with Roundup Ready at its conception in a lab.  So while he pays more for seed, he spends less time and money watering and gets twice the yield without the concern about bugs.

Personally, I don't want to eat the margarine version of corn.  Arthur and I have decided to accept our differences.

Instead, Arthur has even gone so far as to find me a friend of his that is interested in the hippie movement concerning food.  He has helped us connect, gotten us set up with a basic growing agreement, helped me think through a co-op of sorts, and offered his farm store as our meeting place.  Arthur has been a doll.

And Jodi is willing to grow me real corn.  Not margarine corn.  Real, Silver Queen, with a few worms and all.

I am thrilled!

The reason I am telling y'all this is because I am going to let you in on my corn crop.  Honestly, I can't afford an entire corn crop without a community.  So, for you locals and those close enough to make the drive for the fun of all this, here's the deal:

One family/ share requires a $25 down payment by next Friday, March 7th.

That gets you in on the deal and allows my farmer, Jodi to go get seed, etc.

Once the harvest comes in, each family gets one tenth of a quarter acre. (It costs around $1000 to produce an acre of corn.)  If I have an odd number of people, I will figure out the math to make it all fair in the end.  Each family is required to buy their entire share of the corn crop.  The corn crop will cost wholesale, or no more than $4 per dozen.  

One share will bring in about 10 to 20 dozen ears of corn.  The big range has to do with the weather.  

So, each family/ share costs $25 down payment + $4 per dozen = Total ranging from $65 to $105 for the total share.

The corn is to be picked up at Black's.  This is not organic corn.  For the farmer's peace of mind, he has the right the spray it around once a week.  I will get a written agreement from each family outlining our deal so the family and the farmer feel good about this endeavor.

So, who's in?

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