Monday, March 23, 2009

Bailey's Buying Club Good News - register for 2009!

Hi Folks,

Good news! We will be up and running May 29! First United Church is
renting us their gym on Fridays (corner of King and William St.).
Rachael Ward has joined me in this buying club project and we are
getting organized! This year you'll be able to order from our website
with the benefits of being able to change your order after you make
it, receiving a confirmation of your order and the list of foods will
be easier to navigate.

I'm emailing you now to invite you to register for the second season
of Bailey's Local Food Buying Club. We are planning for feeding 300
families so you can also invite your neighbours, friends and families
to join in the good food fun. We will be doing this similar to last
year. You'll be able to order from Saturday at 11PM to Tuesday at 8PM.
Pick up is Friday 3:30-7PM. We are asking members to pay a $20 annual
membership fee starting this year. The fee will be added onto your
first order and can be paid when you pick it up. The fee will help us
pay the $200/week rent at the church and the hawkers and vendors fee
to the City. There are lots of other details you can find on the
website under: Information for Members ( We
plan to offer local food all year with monthly pick-ups November to

I've been talking to farmers since January to line up who is growing
what for us. It's kind of tricky. I'm working on having a #1 and #2
grower of most vegetables so that we aren't dependent on one farmer
for a crop that may fail (you know, hail, pests, disease). I met with
Selema and Edward Martin a few weeks ago. They have ordered more seeds
than ever before and will be growing for us: lettuce heads, leeks,
sweet peppers, sweet corn, butternut squash and more. It's a
fascinating puzzle to piece this all together. Each farmer has her or
his preference of what they like to grow (often influenced by what
their family likes to eat as "seconds" that are not good enough to
sell) and what grows especially well in their soil and microclimate.
I have not found anyone to grow us carrots yet. I HAVE found Mark and
Debbie Loebbe near Wallenstein who will grow cucumbers and tomatoes in
the greenhouse for us.

To give you an idea of the challenges the farmers live with let me
tell you about sweet corn. Edward Martin grows the sweet corn on his
farm with Selema. He grows it without chemicals for us. He was
explaining that he has to charge me retail price because even though
he plants a patch of sweet corn every week May-July for a continuous
harvest, if the corn is ripe on Monday and we won't buy it until
Friday, he has to plow it under and it is all a loss. He can't sell it
at the auction because buyers there don't want to see the occasional
worm in the unsprayed corn. Next year I'm hoping that we'll be at the
place where we will offer a Tuesday and a Friday pick up. Buying
twice a week is better for the farmers since produce is ripening all
the time and does not just stand in the soil waiting until Friday to
be harvested.

Are you finding any local food out there these days? I wish Perry
would drop off a big bag of whole wheat bread flour from Oak Manor.
It's hard work eating locally in March! Miriam sold me a few cabbages
in February and they are waiting to be eaten in the fridge. I can't
say that we are excited about eating more coleslaw and borscht but
when it is sitting before us and we are spooning it in, it still
tastes good. We expect our meals to be exciting, eh? Makes me think
of living with Albertina's family in Guatemala and how we ate beans
and rice everyday. It was not a hardship or because of extreme
poverty. Meals were not expected to be exciting - just a different
mindset. Wish I could get into that mindset. I just want a really big
bowl of chef salad with Selema's buttercrunch lettuce…

Alright, let's be more positive about local food. I still have about
dozen potatoes left from October 31. They've kept beautifully. My
neighbour Kim picked us up some super sweet carrots at the Kitchener
market. We've got the aforementioned cabbage and Chinese cabbage from
Paul. Frozen red peppers. Frozen raspberries and strawberries. Frozen
chicken, turkey sausage, bacon, beef… See, we're not suffering over
here. It's all perspective eh? Cup is half full or half empty. I
still think "I'm rich!" when I look into my freezer. I just wish it
had more peas and beans in it (note to self for this year).

I'm excited about beginning another year of channeling local food into
the city to urban families. I hope that the church gym will be a
welcoming and fun spot to meet neighbours and pick up food. I'm
worried that I've forgotten many of your names. I wish I could
remember your kids names. Maybe I should ask for that on the
registration so that I can have a cheat sheet to remind myself what
your kids names are before Fridays. Maybe you can just accept that
I'll forget your names and know that I'm still fond of you. 300
families is approximately 1,000 names!

So I'll be using this email list for a few updates and reminders to
register (up until May 29) and then I'll only be emailing those who
have registered. Registering is easy with the awesome form Andrew
created. More than one email address per household can be added later,
please go ahead and register with one email address. Go check it out: We are relying on
word-of-mouth to work again this year so, please, think of other
people who love local food and live or work near First United Church,
tell them about us and they can go to our website to learn more and
register. Send them this link:

In love of local farmers and local food,


PS We think that we will reach our maximum of 300 families quickly so
register now to be sure you get in.

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