Originally published in the Virtual Farmers Market newsletter.
Imagine if you will, 13 years ago, a chef and a baker stood on the edge of a giant ship. (For this exercise the giant ship represents our broken food system.) Dawn Woodward and Edmund Rek both were wearing life-jackets and holding their one year old daughter, Evelyn, and a bag of Red Fife. We named the crackers after our daughter, Evelyn. She was 2 years old at the time and so intense in everything she did – walking, jumping, talking- so we approached the crackers in the same way. As she grew older we realized we are creating transparency in the food system that will offer her sustainable food choices in the years to come. We make the crackers with her in mind.
"Being part of the Local and Slow Food Movements is key for us– educating, spreading the word and creating new items from these heritage grains in as many forms as possible. With more cookies, granola, new cracker flavors we can help ensure agricultural diversity by keeping these ancient grains alive."
There was no indication that the giant ship would slow down or change direction anytime soon. So, holding hands they looked into the void and jumped. The water was dark, cold and lonely. Over the years other dissatisfied food professionals, farmers and growers, in similar orange vests, have floated nearby. Oftentimes they locked arms to help tread water together, or to be more easily seen in the hopes of being rescued. Many of us have been rescued in small row boats by conscientious consumers who also believe the established food system is failing us. Together we have been paddling towards a secluded island away from the big ship. To a place where working directly with local farmers and growers are the expectation not the exception. To a place where others believe that spending money within a local food community will sustain, grow and benefit the entire community. All together, as pioneers, we are setting up the foundation for Evelyn’s generation to truly benefit from this new place. The dawn is coming. More and more lifeboats are heading towards our island and big ships are further away. Our future is bright.
Graze & Gather, formerly the Virtual Farmers Market, was formed by farmers in the early days of the pandemic, out of the tremendous need for collaboration and cooperation between farmers and homes. The GCF Hub increases access to the best, seasonal food from small producers and provides a direct connection to the people growing and making your food.