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On the Nature of Commitment

Today I want to shout out the commitment of the Tennessee Food Farming Alliance. They have been doing incredible work to help update some of our food vendor regulations; that’s going to mean way less waste and hopefully more profit for small businesses. 

I went down the rabbit hole of their Instagram when they posted a photo of a bonfire lit amongst a peach orchard during the last freezing nights in March. It struck me in a visceral way; it stuck with me for days—a rarity in the age of the scroll-and-forget, no-attention-span era. 

I kept going back to stare at it with thoughts like, ‘I hope this works,’ (frkin love peaches and all stone fruit, really), but also, ‘How abnormal is this?’ Is this extreme due to climate change and wilder-than-before weather swings? How often do farmers resort to staying up all night to tend or keep watch on crops through all sorts of conditions?

Is it so extreme in terms of the commitment farmers have to the work of feeding us all the best food grown right down the road? 

Ariana Hodes

At the Nashville Food Co-op, we’re looking to be one of those catalytic entities that could make the work of our hero farmers and farmer-aides easier, more fruitful even. We are a positively powerful group of people with the common goal of supporting farmers who farm with the utmost respect and love for nature.

We could be the place new farmers or farm workers get inspired to go into the field, (y’all, not saying anything here, but we need more young people interested in farming am I right?) We could mean the difference to a small business weathering an economic storm. Neighbors helping neighbors, if you will. 

The commitment to being a member of the Co-op is much easier than keeping a fire lit all night. But being a member could add another log onto that fire; helping a crop go from orchard to table. Even when nature’s playing hide and seek with spring. 

That picture is seared in my mind. Because I, like the peach tree, was so ready for spring. As soon as those nice days hit in February, I really felt like I was one of those delicate little shivering peach blossoms. I felt the warmth of that fire, and I willed it to work. Some might even call it praying. Whatever you call intentional thought sent out into the world, join me in sending one of gratitude to those who work through freezing nights so our too-hot days can be filled with delicious peach everything—tea, cobbler, whiskey…what else? What do you like to make with peaches? 

UPDATE: the Nashville Food Farmers Alliance got this bill passed! Starting Jan 1, 2024 food vendors will be allowed to sample their foods without a permit at farmers markets and sell food directly with an annual permit just like at a festival or fair! This will make sales easier at farmers’ markets, and cut down SIGNIFICANTLY on plastic waste WHICH CANNOT BE RECYCLED (I’m looking at you clamshell containers!) So yay! Way to go y’all!

Land Acknowledgement

The Nashville Food Co-op acknowledges what we call Nashville, Tennessee was and is the traditional homelands of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee Peoples, stewards of the land and waterways, and their various inhabitants, and who are still here in this place. Land and waterways that were and continue to be stewarded by the Abenaki and Penacook people is land that was more than likely commandeered, and it’s important to remember that legacy whenever we’re talking about land and the caring of it.

About the Author

Ariana Hodes is a performing artist by training—acting and singing since she could walk and talk. She is a photographer, videographer, writer, traveler, bartender, reader, and imbiber of media except for horror. Not gonna do it. She finds spirit in nature and thinks it was no coincidence she ended up working on a small natural farm in NH during the height of the pandemic learning from the best kind of 3rd-generation steward of her land.

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