Have you ever wondered how our ancestors were able to eat a healthy diet in northern climes like New England in the wintertime?
Today, we have the luxury of fresh fruits and vegetables of every variety—every single day of the year. But that hasn’t always been the case, and the “end of the era of cheap oil” may be a game-changer when it comes to how we currently produce and distribute food. Then what?
Where will I get my fresh produce in Connecticut when gasoline soars to $10 or $15 a gallon? Where will I get my blueberries in February when fuel prices will preclude me getting them from Chile anymore?
A recent article in the New York Times (2-22-12, see link below) tells us how. It is entitled Living Off the Land in Maine, Even in Winter and shows us how certain people are doing that NOW. The article tells us all about a remarkable couple and their Four Season Farm:
Eliot Coleman (73) and Barabara Damrosch (69), married in 1991, had much in common, including near-endless energy. He had grown up in Rumson, N.J., the privileged child of a stockbroker. She had grown up in Manhattan, the daughter of a pediatrician.
He had earned a master’s degree in Spanish literature at Williams College and roamed the Americas, teaching at various schools while skiing and rock climbing and whitewater kayak racing. She had worked on a doctorate in medieval literature from Columbia University and had taught college.
Nowadays, in the dead of winter—in one of our coldest states, this remarkable couple is raising all kinds of crops. As the article tells us, “Spinach, salad greens, arugula, cabbages, beets and many other hardy crops are grown in the unheated greenhouses. Seeds of heat-loving tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are started in flats in the one heated greenhouse.” Which by the way, make sure you enjoy the benefits of a high yield indoor garden at the lowest possible cost by finding the best economic LED grow lights for your harvest.
As for Eliot and Barbara, they’re not only showing us how to eat healthy in the winter; they’re writing it down for us to read:
Before they met…Mr. Coleman had already published his first book, “The New Organic Grower,” and taken delegations of scientists to Europe to observe the success of intensive organic farming.
Ms. Damrosch had appeared on “The Victory Garden,” the popular WGBH public television series that promoted composting and intensive gardening, and she had published a book, “Theme Gardens.” Over the years, they have both continued to write: Ms. Damrosch’s book “A Garden Primer” is a bible for gardeners; Mr. Coleman’s “Four Season Harvest” and “The Winter Harvest Handbook” explain his organic methods in detail.
What caught my eye was the fact that they are actually running a viable business—while providing us with a roadmap for the future. Last year, their Four Season Farm grossed $120,000 from crops grown on 1.5 acres of land.
They’re also growing, providing employment to others and are training people who will start other farms in the future. From the article, “Though Four Season Farm is thriving, all but $25,000 of its earnings go back into the business, paying for maintenance and the four apprentices. They work 10 months of the year, for $8 an hour, and receive free living quarters (a loft in the cow barn, the onion storage house, the log cabin built years ago) before going on to start farms of their own.”
Meet Eliot Coleman in this 4-minute video
Read more about this remarkable couple in this article. Also, for your convenience, a few earlier blog posts on the topic of local, organic farming—and the end of cheap oil:
- Living Off the Land in Maine, Even in Winter – NYTimes.com.
- Organic, local and sustainable — simply the right thing to do
- Urban Farming; feeding the world after the era of cheap oil.
- Unsustainable. The end of cheap oil may be our friend.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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