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Seeking Diversity

October 23, 2012

Some might look down our list of things offered in the Stocking Up Food System farm shares and question the variety. Many like variety but some are suspicious. How can we do everything there? It points to diversity in operations, and it allows us to offer more diversity to our customers.

We offer, for example, not just white and brown eggs but colored and duck eggs also. There’s a variety of types of chickens offered, and pork, rabbit and other options. Then looking down the list – grave blankets, memorial trees, craft feathers, wool or mohair for fiber crafters…what are these things and where do they come from. In the spirit of diversity – right here on the farm!

You see, it’s not about being big, it’s about using what we have. That won’t change, be it here or on 23 acres or, in time, larger parcels. We already have the birds – who shed feathers. When we find in the pen useful feathers, we pick those up! We *use* the furs from the rabbits, and offer ‘green’ (untanned) furs to those who want to work with it. We seek to market and use every line we can from the farm, not only to not waste anything, but also to help the dips and dives and peaks that all products have. When there’s not so many eggs available we have other options.

And, honoring our tradition part of the farm, we offer “old fashioned” things like grave blankets, imperfect homemade wreathes and wood crafts, from trees right on the farm also! Someday maybe we’ll have maple syrup…how much can come from small farms? You’d be surprised!

It also diversifies the workload. As we get moved onto the land, it and the income from the farm will have to sustain us. We’d be giving up that weekly paycheck that’s helped us grow so far, and covered the basics while we breed and plan and move forward. It’s insurance that helps if something dies, or doesn’t sell for as much as we’d like. But when that option is gone, we’ve got three people that need to be busy and productive. After all – one can ride a rocking horse and get a lot of “busy” but not go anywhere like a real horse will! With working smarter not harder, much thought has been given to the setup of barns, feeders, etc to keep feed handling to a minimum. That leaves us free to observe animal, breed, tend to other duties, get the garden going, find wood, get our own winter wood supply – yes we’ll literally be using the same food and items that our customers will!

And while we’ll have an increased workload off line, in some ways our online will take a bigger role, in communicating and finding markets for those unique crafty items! There’s many things to do, and many ways to serve our customers!

What we lack in volume (which would be hard to do *and*remain small) we excel at choices. We don’t rely on selling 3,000 pigs per load, and won’t see that volume per year! But for those who want Kentucky based food options, slow food, knowing where and how it’s raised and want that back story as well as a meal. A there, dear reader, there we can compete!

It’s traditional agriculture, traditional breeds, slow food, slow money and slow down! It’s getting a board game instead of a video game, although we enjoy both! It’s that combination of tradition and technology that makes us different. The personal simplicity pieces that appear here are things we do, not just write about. Sometimes we do them imperfectly…but it truly is a lifestyle not just a book or new year resolution. We appreciate those who join us in this forum, and for those near enough…

We look forward to your order. Farm choices.

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