reflections from the southeast PA rural underground

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wild Persimmon Farm Journal

It was Dan's idea. He wanted to start a new New Farm. A magazine/website/community that would start on-line but then take physical shape in the form of a working farm that provides local food and education to the surrounding community and beyond. This is where Tim Stark and Dave Wilson came in. Tim already had the farm and was indeed starting a "new" one up above the Oley valley on a piece of land that had been in the Angstadt family for generations. Dan and Tim being friends as well as writers, things finally boiled down to organizing winter dinners which were partly to get the ball rolling on Dan's project but also to provide a weary farmer/writer with some respit from the winter blues. We could all use that. All of us who put our very souls deep into the earth of work for many months only to be stopped cold when the first flurries fall from a sunless sky.

Dave Wilson had been the main agricultural researcher at Rodale and was interested in continuing his various cover crop projects on new ground. Eventually a group formed which was roughly composed of these three persons as well as a jewelry maker and fabulous cook named Tess, the co-manager from Tim's farm (Eckerton Hill Farm) Wayne, Tianna, a sustainable extension agent from Penn State, and Kim, a person Tim and Wayne knew with seemingly endless talents for fixing, creating, and building up everything from people to engines to bees to garden beds . There too, at those first dinners was Genevieve, another writer with her pulse on the sustainable ag movement coupled with hands-on farming experience and soon to be graduate student at Columbia University. And on occasion Chris, another ex-Rodale man whose expertise were graphics and web design.

Still in the process of figuring out how and when and what to do with all the talents and ideas of all these minds, Wild Persimmon Farm Journal (so- named for the Persimmon trees that stand just yards away from the old Angstadt house) is at its beginning stages and like any organization worth its best idea, is a community of people. Slowly growing. Hoping, in this case, to serve as an example of how community can be found in the food grown and raised in one's own back yard. The cliche of you are what you eat comes to mind as well as all the many trends such as farm-to-table restaurants, farm-to-city, buy-fresh-buy-local, localvore etc. now circulating and overlapping the larger green movement(s). Are they all valid or even sustainable? Only time will tell. It does seem like its time to bring real food back to the table and create some semblance of culture that starts as it once did, down on the farm.

All content including photos and video by Wayne Miller.

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