Down on Honey Brook Farm
24 June 2009
Wild River talks to Sherry Dudas, Farm Planner for the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative in the United States
“Welcome to the era of food activism,” announces the WorldWatch Institute (an independent research organization based out of Washington, D.C., which focuses on the 21st century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty). “More than ever before, how we farm and feed ourselves is how we change the world around us.”
As Honey Brook Organic farm explains in their brochure, “Community supported agriculture is an attempt to address the manifold problems of modern industrialized agriculture by redefining the relationship between farmer, consumer and the natural, biological systems which comprise a farm.” The organic label is not only nutritionally important but important to the health of our soil and water. Indeed “normal” farms (and agribusiness at large) remain major water polluters due to pesticide run-off but that’s food for another blog.
Of course, food is not just political, but deeply personal.
I might not have changed the world as much as I’d like through multiple years of CSA farm “membership” but I do like that just once in a while I can answer my six-year old daughter with precision (without a blink!) when she asks, “Mommy, where does that food actually come from?”
And I do know that heading to the farm (every week over summer and fall) has changed my life and deeply intensified my passion for cooking. Do I start with my indulgent use of fresh basil, dill, and cilantro in ever-changing dishes? Words are not enough. Or the way I’ve watched my daughter stuff herself on sugar snap peas, strawberries and more strawberries (her shirt drenched in strawberry juice) straight from the fields? Or how I just like the look of red and green lettuce, broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage and garlicscapes scattered all over my kitchen counter?
Honey Brook Organic Farm located in Central New Jersey, is the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative of its kind in the United States. Wild River Review asked Sherry Dudas, Honey Brook’s Farm Planner a few questions about the challenges and rewards of working on an organic CSA farm.
You are on the largest CSA’s in the country…To what do you attribute your success? Location, location, location as well as offering tasty, high quality locally grown certified organic produce for a reasonable price.
What can the ordinary person do to support local agriculture? Become customers of local farmers, refrain from complaining about noise or smells generated by farmers, and lending support when they need approvals from local officials to do projects like drill irrigation wells, improve their farm markets or expand their parking lots.
Doesn’t it cost too much? Our customers don’t think so – we have a 400 person waiting list at the moment. It’s not just a consumer transaction here – our members are looking for an experience — interacting with other members, watching ladybugs on the bean plants with their grandchildren, maybe stealing a smooch from their spouse in the PYO flowers. It’s the kind of place lasting memories are made, and it’s rare that we get any complaints about the price of membership.
What don’t people know about organic farmers? That we are chronically sleep-deprived during the growing season.
What disheartens you most about agricultural policy in the United States? Federal programs designed to help farmers conserve soil and water are underfunded, so less conservation work gets done as a result.
What inspires you most about your work? It’s got to be the joy it inspires in children. In fact, last week a boy (about 4 years old) hugged me when he found out I was one of the farmers here. I didn’t get that kind of appreciation when I worked at a desk job!
Sherry Dudas is Farm Planner for Honey Brook Organic Farm. She came to Honey Brook with over 10 years of conservation and farmland preservation experience, and is responsible for managing the farm’s marketing and promotion, special event planning, community outreach and related farm business and land use planning activities.
In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.
Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.
After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor Magazine, Routledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Kimberly Nagy in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
ARTS – FILM REVIEWS
ARTS – MUSIC
ARTS – PHOTOGRAPHY
The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song
ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MORGANSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: An Interview with Bertha Morgan
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative
First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change
ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson