Food For Thought

Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers

By Bren Smith New York
Times August 9, 2014

Bren Smith is a shellfish and seaweed farmer on Long Island Sound.

NEW HAVEN — AT a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.
The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat. Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.

Others of us rely almost entirely on Department of Agriculture or foundation grants, not retail sales, to generate farm income. And young farmers, unable to afford land, are increasingly forced into neo-feudal relationships, working the fields of wealthy landowners. Little wonder the median age for farmers and ranchers is now 56.

My experience proves the trend. To make ends meet as a farmer over the last decade, I’ve hustled wooden crafts to tourists on the streets of New York, driven lumber trucks, and worked part time for any nonprofit that could stomach the stink of mud on my boots. Laden with college debt and only intermittently able to afford health care, my partner and I have acquired a favorite pastime in our house: dreaming about having kids.

It’s cheaper than the real thing. But what about the thousands of high-priced community-supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets that have sprouted up around the country? Nope. These new venues were promising when they proliferated over a decade ago, but now, with so many programs to choose from, there is increasing pressure for farmers to reduce prices in cities like my hometown, New Haven. And while weekend farmers’ markets remain precious community spaces, sales volumes are often too low to translate into living wages for your much-loved small-scale farmer.

Especially in urban areas, supporting your local farmer may actually mean buying produce from former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers who have quit the rat race to get some dirt under their fingernails. We call it hobby farming, where recreational “farms” are allowed to sell their products at the same farmers’ markets as commercial farms. It’s all about property taxes, not food production. As Forbes magazine suggested to its readers in its 2012 Investment Guide, now is the time to “farm like a billionaire,” because even a small amount of retail sales — as low as $500 a year in New Jersey — allows landowners to harvest more tax breaks than tomatoes.

On top of that, we’re now competing with nonprofit farms. Released from the yoke of profit, farms like Growing Power in Milwaukee and Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., are doing some of the most innovative work in the farming sector, but neither is subject to the iron heel of the free market. Growing Power alone received over $6.8 million in grants over the last five years, and its produce is now available in Walgreens stores. Stone Barns was started with a $30 million grant from David Rockefeller. How’s a young farmer to compete with that?

As one grower told me, “When these nonprofit farms want a new tractor, they ask the board of directors, but we have to go begging to the bank.”


Robin Williams Quote of the Week From Greg Bover

A reprise from March 2012

“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time.”

Robin Williams (1952-2014) R.I.P.


A Chicago native, Williams attended Claremont McKenna College and the Juilliard School, breaking into television as the alien Mork on “Happy Days”. Mork was such a popular character that the spin-off “Mork and Mindy” ran four years providing Williams with the perfect vehicle for his unparalleled mimicry and improvisational impersonations.

A veteran of dozens of film roles from Peter Pan to the deranged killer in Insomnia, Williams received an Academy award for his portrayal of a Harvard professor in Good Will Hunting, as well as several Emmys, Golden Globes and other awards.

Williams continued to perform stand-up comedy and was active in support of myriads of charities, several connected to his battles with substance abuse and depression. Thrice married, the quote may reflect self-awareness.

Greg Bover


MUSIC & MEDITATION IN THE MEETINGHOUSE (MMM) featuring meditation leader Brian King with cellist Kristen Miller, August 31st, 2014 in the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse 

BASICS: Candle‐lit setting Meetinghouse, home of the Meditation and Music
August 31st, 2014 at 7:30pm in Gloucester’s 1806
Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church
Corner of Middle and Church Streets, on the green
Free‐Will Offering, Fully Accessible, and Everyone is Welcome with Light Refreshments,, (978‐283‐3410)
Social Gathering Afterwards     Church Contact: Karen Rembert

EVENT DESCRIPTION: The Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church is pleased to announce the next event of its monthly series called Music & Meditation in the Meetinghouse (MMM) that offers Cape Ann residents and visitors a unique combination of beautiful music and relaxing meditation.

Each MMM event offers the participants an opportunity to enjoy a different combination of peaceful self‐awareness through various kinds of meditation enhanced by the musical offerings. The MMM experience is intended to be comforting, entertaining and spiritual but it is emphatically not a church service. It is held in the candle‐lit sanctuary of the grand Meetinghouse, a place of gathering and welcoming for the entire Gloucester community for over 200 years. The Meetinghouse, whose lantern tower with a Paul Revere bell has guided generations of mariners safely into our harbor, is on the National Register of  Historic Places. It is the oldest surviving church building on Cape Ann.

The August event will feature meditation leader Brian King with cellist Kristen Miller.  There will be a collation with light refreshments afterwards in the Entrance House, giving participants the opportunity to meet the leaders and each other in a convivial atmosphere.

The Sanctuary is accessible with facilities for persons with disabilities via the side entrance at 10 Church Street. A free‐will offering of $10 is requested but no one will be turned away and everyone is welcome regardless of financial capability.

Find your way Sunday evening to the green at the corner of Middle and Church Streets to discover an hour of peace, enjoyment and contemplation in Gloucester’s historic 1806 Meetinghouse.

MEDITATION LEADER: Brian King is a singer, songwriter, and performer. Since a young age, he has cultivated his passion for spirituality, religion, and mythology by studying multiple traditions from Buddhism, Neo‐Shamanism, and Theosophy to Tarot, Jungian psychology and world mythology. Brian has been greatly influenced by the works and teachings of Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, and Pema Chodron. He has practiced various forms of meditation and contemplation throughout his life, and has found the chakra system to be a beautiful way to balance the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

For a decade, Brian worked in public health as director of Prism LGBT Health. He fronts the local band neo‐cabaret band, What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?

MUSICIAN: Cellist Kristen Miller is a one‐woman ensemble. She connects her antique cello to a live digital recorder to stack layers of lush cello, spoken word and singing to create a style that

Billboard writer Bobby Borg calls “romantically, hauntingly, charmingly, brilliant.” As a solo artist, Kristen has released three CD’s, all of which charted on college and community radio nationwide. Kristen is the recipient of several awards and scholarships, including Jam Magazine’s Female Artist of the Year, and the Zara Nelsova Cellist Award for excellence in performance. In addition to solo performing and film scoring, Kristen also enjoys work as a session cellist. She has appeared on records for artists as diverse and varied as Vance Gilbert, Assembly of Dust, and Grammy Award winner Irma Thomas. When she is not performing, Kristen shares the joy of cello and singing with students of all ages. She is also a practicing Shaman, trained in the Unani tradition from Malaysia.

Kristen can be found on  iTunes, CD baby, Facebook, and her official website, and her personal website

“Cucuzza” Zucchini & Ricotta Spingi with Sun Dried Tomato Dip



 “Cucuzza” Zucchini & Ricotta Spingi with Sun Dried Tomato Dip

It’s Zucchini Time…and here is my twist on Ricotta Spingi

Last week I created todays “Cucuzza” Zucchini & Ricotta Spingi recipe using a large “Cucuzza”  grown in my friend Maryjane Carollo vegetable garden. This is by far one of my most favorite times of year to cook. Everything tastes extra delicious when using fresh produce from local farms, and friends gardens!  If your looking for a new recipe using fresh zucchini, this is a must try!


Click see more for Step-by-Step recipe details and photos

Continue reading ““Cucuzza” Zucchini & Ricotta Spingi with Sun Dried Tomato Dip”

In Case Anyone Missed The New York Times Article On Cape Ann…


Hi Joey,
You probably saw this but just in case ! Do we love Cape Ann or what! Alice Gardner

Polishing Its Past and Preparing Its Future

AUG. 13, 2014

    Here’s the link-

    WEEKEND RUN DOWN- Saturday Morning MUG UP To City Wide Gloucester Ice Bucket Chalenge- This Is What You Ought To Be Doing!

    Saturday Morning Mug Up at EJ’s New Gallery On Madfish Wharf- Come Out and Meet Your Favorite GMG Personalities- Everyone would love To Meet You!  If You Are A GMG FOB You Need To Be Here!

    RNAC art walk flier

    Saturday Waterfront Festival

    Saturday Night Block Party!




    Happy Faces on the harbor shuttle

    IMG_4667Tourists from North Reading, MA, Washington D.C., London England, Long Island New York, New Jersey, and Capt. Pete from Cape Ann Harbor Tours teaching young Londoners’.







     IMG_4664T     IMG_4662T