I am writing this from what is called the Heartland of America. I have been visiting in-laws in Peoria, Illinois and entirely missed the Free Farm Stand this week.  I am so grateful for all the many hands that have kept the Stand open, from picking up produce to  running the Stand.  I am in the land of  the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).   I have heard the ads for ADM on public radio, but never knew exactly what the did, except that they are the “super market to the world”. I have learned that ADM is about food processing and turning corn and soybeans into food ingredients or fuel. The idea being that the population bomb has exploded and the only way to feed a hungry planet is to have many ADMs  and corporate and industrial farmers grow and manufacture food for us. It almost sounds convincing like the “Green Revolution” of the late sixties, if you don’t think about the side effects from that kind of unsustainable approach.

The Midwest prairies are gone (I did see one prairie restoration project).  The land around me as I drive from one family function to another is hardly a land with heart…it is corn with round-up ready genes and soybeans.    Going to their website I see  that ADM has launched a program that launches this year called Invest an Acre that has a goal similar to our Free Farm Stand: “every farmer doing business with ADM in the United States will have the opportunity to make a donation to feed their neighbors in need”.

Is there something wrong in the Land of Plenty here? How surreal it feels.

I believe the Heart Land is where food is grown for love not profit.

I heard it on the grapevine that the Stand ran smoothly and it sounded like a big crowd.  I am always happy to hear that others brought their surplus produce to share. Produce to the People brought lemons and plums, somebody came by with 25 pounds of potatoes, the School Farm brought kale and mustard greens. Here are some photos:

Some of mighty women volunteers:

and mighty men volunteers:

Lauren with Produce to the People brings fresh locally harvested fruit

It was one of those Free Farm Stand days that was more like a party than anything else. Sunday Streets was down the block and Sunday Stand was in the park. The amount of produce from the Free Farm combined with some contributed from Alemany Farm was over the top. I think we had a record amount of summer squash of all types. We also had our first harvest of potatoes from the farm, mostly  Purple Majesty and Mountain Rose, and an impressive amount of lettuce and greens and some cucumbers too. The School Farm dropped off more Red Russian Kale. There was also pounds of garlic from the farm. We served over 153 people.

With an abundance of fruit, including loquats and Santa Rosa plums from my backyard, a number of boxes of stone fruit, plus 40  boxes of green figs left over from the farmer’s market and a case of  very ripe bananas from Whole Foods perhaps, it seemed like brining out the bike blender was the right thing to do. And Mike came by with some fabulous homemade pickles.

Wayne is so great working with the kids and teaching them about eating healthy

I heard him say isn’t this better than soda?

Jane and other musicians practiced their music and entertained us all

I saw their band play at the Produce to the People Ice Cream Benefit and they were sexy and  their music

was deliciously fun. I love music at the Free Farm Stand!

One of the members of the congregation at the Free Farm Church…watch out mice!