No, I am not jaded about the (sometimes) revolutionary changes being made by the Internet, and I don't want to sound blasé about the (hopefully) strong impact that social networking on the 'net has helped our business grow. But I can't help choke back the impulse of irony I feel as the Internet slowly moves from a globalizing force to something that to me feels much more... real: a localizing force.
But it is very ironic: The Internet initially gave the awe-inspiring impression of connecting people who were thousands of miles apart, making the world smaller. Of course, it only stays small if you stay at your desk clicking away, and you forget that it is still really really far to physically travel those thousands of miles. I wonder if during those early years our local connections actually languished more than ever; making easy friends with someone half a world away while you gradually forget your neighbor's name. Not to say at all that this phenomenon doesn't still have us in its grip, but I think that the intensity of the network has become so pervasive that we now can just as easily make those friends locally. Maybe even meet your neighbor both through the Internet, AND at your local CSA farm.
I just spent the last few minutes checking out a couple companies/websites which do "peer-to-peer renting" (OK, so it was actually the last 45 minutes.) I came across SnapGoods after reading a review for a new book called What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.
I was getting very excited about the prospect of borrowing a neighbor's drill when I learned that SnapGoods was still limited to big city areas, especially its birthplace New York City. Before I let those Brooklyn hipsters swapping Vespas and Roomba vaccuum robots get me down about our rural state of Maine, I realized that a few other websites were promoting the same thing: NeighborGoods, ShareSomeSugar, and Zilok... But this is clearly still in an early stage of development, especially for Scarborough. Still, if this is the light at the end of the tunnel, it really is exciting, and Broadturn Farm would be happy to post some of our handy tools to the cause of consuming less:
Chicken-plucker. (wobbly front leg, a little bloody) $10/day.
Back-pack flame-weeder. (disclaimer included) $5/day and a full tank on return.
10 Lawn-munching sheep. (with electric fence- if they jump, you chase) $? make an offer.
Bean-seed hand thresher. (you could actually keep this one) $0 if you can figure out how it works.
As I say this I suddenly remember my audience: our very local CSA community. (its true- I do sometimes forget that an audience matters when it comes to blogging, but...) What we have in our CSA community is a network of neighbors and friends who are connected through email, our website, and this Broadturn Broadside, as well as on a weekly face-to-face basis.
That is a very valuable thing, and we ought to honor it and call it what it is. Egyptian Revolution? Maybe not, but it is a strong community, reinforced by on-line and off-line experiences, and GOOD FOOD! As we continue marketing the CSA this month of February, please enlist your friends, and your neighbors (even if you can't remember their name!) to join Broadturn Farm. Let us know if, despite our busy lives, if there are other ways we can strengthen our CSA community.
Blessings on the meal,
PS... does anyone have an LT40 Hydraulic Woodmizer portable sawmill (with the 35 horse diesel option motor) collecting dust in the garage? I'll trade you for that sweet plucker I mentioned earlier. I'll even throw in a few chickens that have stopped laying!