Yesterday, a farmer welcomed four strangers for a picnic at Karma Farm.
Contrary to western belief, Karma is neither good nor bad, fate nor destiny. Instead, Karma is more like the act of planting a seed. Once planted, time and unseen mystery take over until the tiny plant pushes out of the soil to be seen. At any point, we can plant a variety of seeds and have the power to choose the plants we let grow to harvest.
Jon Shaw, founder of Karma Farm (formerly Baltimorganic), understands this better than most. As yogis, he and his wife, Gay, have sown many seeds, growing Karma Farm into a fully natural and sustainable source of food for Baltimoreans. Serving many of the restaurants in Hampden and Remington, he cares for the soil, his plants, and the people he feeds.
Jon is part of a “local” movement dedicated to growing food that is both natural and sustainable. This is not the same as the “organic” movement where large food companies pay premiums to put labels on their food in order to secure higher prices or sales. Unfortunately, for many local farmers, the cost of getting USDA “organic” certification breaks the bank. We have taken what was a well-intended desire to go back to healthier farming practices and commercialized it so only the larger companies can participate. In our haste to control and label, we are not sustaining the work of our smaller, local farmers.
People like Jon are part of a different movement, which we would very much like to help him champion: Food produced with care for the earth and the community it feeds.
Let’s use Karma (take action) to help this movement continue to grow. The seeds we can plant are simple… Buy local. Reach out to and meet your nearby farmers. Taste the difference of food picked fresh from the vine. If that seems hard, just come join me and my friends at our next picnic! Together we will experience these things and more. I’m serious – it’s an open invitation! If you want to join us, just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the details.
And thank you, Jon, Gay, and Jackie, for opening your barn doors to us yesterday.
Jinji, Kelly, Erin, & Jacque