“Have you talked to Farmer Jim?”
is the question that keeps popping up when I ask who I should talk to about local food and farming.
Farmer Jim, formerly known as Jim Buckle, has been farming in New England for 15 years, starting out at a small, organic farm in Maine, and, most recently, working as head farmer at Allandale Farm in Brookline for seven and a half years.
He’s as known for his work on the farm as he is for his produce arm tattoos: a head of garlic, bean sprouts, a carrot, a beet.
“One half of it is to make profits, and the other half is about growing food going directly to food banks,” says Buckle.
His plan is to donate 10 to 20 percent of his produce—blemished produce that won’t sell at supermarkets but still tastes fine—straight to the food pantry, via Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a local food rescue organization.
“We were constantly going around town with all this expensive produce in back of the truck and I started passing a lot of homeless people who are all out, begging for food—and all of this food is going to people who can afford it, or going to people who make lifestyle decisions so they can afford it.”
“Fresh, healthy food shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right.”
Still, he appreciates what the support and somewhat trendiness of local food has done for farming practices.
“It brought farms up to better quality. I like that it became trendy in some ways—it lets us do right practices with our food, but it also divides who can afford it.”
He’s growing a “good healthy mix of a little of everything—baby spinach, carrot, cauliflower, tomato” and will be keeping bees as well and tending to chickens.
His hands are full with a few other projects too, like trying to set up a farm co-op in the fall so people can buy produce in bulk at a discounted value.
“Anyone who wants to buy 200 pounds of carrots, we’ll give it to them.”
Then he’s working with Jamaica Plain-based Bootstrap Compost to “finish a full circle of waste-stream.” Bootstrap will pick up compost from Buckle’s CSA shares (via bikes), and deliver it to the farm, where Buckle will produce compost for the farm and also sell it to consumers for home gardening.
His CSA, already 30 members strong, kicks off the first week of June, and comes in small ($325) and large ($600) shares.
BACK to VOCALLY LOCAL Main Page