Updated: May 9, 2020
As with many communities in our state, visiting the Farmers Market during the Summer is the highlight of the week for many. Not only is it a social event to catch up on local news, but the array of fresh produce is unsurpassed and accessible to all who visit. We feel we are doing our part to support local farmers when purchasing their produce at the Summer Markets. In return, we receive fresh, local vegetables and fruits in great varieties. The other advantage is we know the person who grew the “goods”, have face to face discussions with them and become familiar with what they grow.
But what happens in the Fall, when the Market is over? As a consumer at the Market, for a while, I assumed what I purchased during the summer was enough to sustain the farmer until Spring. There would be enough funds to keep the farm going, to purchase seeds to plant in the Spring and all other items he needed to be sure he/she would be at the Market the next season. The more I investigated, I could see my assumption was all wrong.
The farmers who you see and value at the local Farmers Market need our support year round. When I discovered this I began to investigate how our community can do this in the most equitable and supportive way. That is when I came across Slow Money and its founder Woody Tasch. From the concept of Slow Money, Woody started SOIL, Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally. It is an honor for me, along with Julie Mordecai, Leisa Hust and Wendy Weiner to be starting SOIL-Sangre de Cristo here in our region.
What will SOIL-Sangre de Cristo look like? We will support farmers and others involved in local food production with 0% loans to help them with various needs from purchasing materials to install “hoop” houses to get a start on spring planting, to funds for compost and soil amendments or a down payment on a new tractor. The needs are endless.
The goal is to keep this industry strong, and growing. Becoming part of the SOIL-Sangre de Cristo community affirms the value of the small and the local food economy, literally putting our dollars into the soil. It is re-investing in our own communities for our generation and the next.