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Digger's Mirth

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2010
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Digger's Mirth: A Collective Model in Sustainable Agriculture

      There have been many arguments surrounding the fact that sustainable
      agriculture which produces local, healthy, fresh, quality food can often
      be inaccessible to those living in low-income neighborhoods and / or
      food deserts. At least one cooperative is changing this idea, hopefully
      creating a model for other communities to do the same.

      Digger's Mirth is a worker owned collective out of Burlington, Vermont.
      They have converted an old mail truck into a biodiesel delivery vehicle
      that services market clientele as well as low-income neighborhoods who
      don't have dependable, regular access to quality, healthy food. For
      them, it's simply a bonus that it's locally grown and sustainably farmed.

      A recent article in The Atlantic quotes them to say they will be
      accepting food stamps next July "As soon as we get the first ripe
      tomatoes." While I couldn't find a website for the cooperative, I did
      find a good paragraph that gives a little background:

      Diggers' Mirth was founded in 1992 and currently has five members
      farming 15 acres. This is a worker-owned and operated farm. The name
      Diggers' Mirth was derived from a British agrarian collective that
      operated in the mid-1600s. The original Diggers reclaimed abandoned land
      to grow food for themselves and the poor. All collective members taking
      part in the farm have an equal voice in its operation. Each year
      Diggers' Mirth cultivates approximately 2/3 of the field and cover crops
      the other portion to ensure soil regeneration, growing over 40 types of
      certified organic vegetables and fruits. Their most popular and focus
      crops are mesclun and carrots.

      I also found a YouTube "interview" video that gives talks candidly about
      what they're doing up in Vermont and gives some advice for small farms
      looking to grow into a collective.

      When asked What makes Digger's Mirth so successful over the last twenty
      years? Elango, a long-time collective shareholder, replies that the fact
      that it's a cooperative allows the capital costs of a farm to be lower
      because the costs are spread across the collective, not on a sole
      individual the way that a "traditional" farm setup may be.

      As a model, the collective suggests to start small and grow
      consistently, keeping not just the soil but the capital healthy. Vermont
      has a reputation for organic farming despite its short growing season
      and so that makes this endeavor especially beneficial for a number of
      people who wouldn't otherwise have access at all to fresh, local,
      sustainable food.

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      "From the point of view of the defense of our society,
      there only exists one danger -- that workers succeed in
      speaking to each other about their condition and their
      aspirations _without intermediaries_."
      --Censor (Gianfranco Sanguinetti), _The Real Report on
      the Last Chance to Save Capitalism in Italy_
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