Even though we have an amazing food market near our apartment in Bogota, I recently decided to start buying produce through La Canasta, a local CSA (community-supported agriculture). Every Wednesday morning, a box is delivered to us with fresh organic fruit, vegetables, and eggs. You receive whatever produce is in season and ready to be harvested, without having the option of choosing what you want to eat that week. What I most dislike about cooking is thinking about shopping lists, so I figured that we would simply need to find recipes for whatever random goodness was delivered to us that week.
The first week that we signed up, the CSA organizers were planning a trip to Subachoque to visit some of the farms where the food comes from. The idea was for the consumers in Bogota and the farmers who produce our food to get to know each other and strengthen this food network and community. I have never lived or worked on a farm, so it was quite the eye-opening experience.
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Honorio and Luz Stella opened their home and their farm to us. The farm is small, but they cultivate a wide variety of crops. They explained how long the process of creating food takes - preparing the land, planting the seeds, tending the plants, harvesting the crops, and creating the compost pile to then start all over again. Day in and day out.
It was then that I realized that, like most wonderful things in life, farming is part science and part art. Farmers are artisans in their own way, and their work should be valued as such. Ever since taking up leather-working, I have a greater appreciation for people who put extra effort into whatever they do and do it well. Honorio and the other CSA farmers spend time caring for their land, which results in a healthier planet and a healthier me.
Though we don't get as much food through the CSA as we would at our local market for the same amount of money, Jerry and I have decided that it is worth it to pay extra to support these artisans. In the same vein, the people who buy from us are willing to pay more, knowing that they support a dying production method and that they are directly supporting artisans in Colombia.
Restrepo Leather will be out for a couple of weeks - we're heading on vacation to Bolivia!