It starts with a weekly visit to the farmers market.
It’s all fresh, in season, and you see who’s growing your food.
Then you join a CSA.
The food is more abundant, the commitment to sustainable agriculture is greater. Your weekly farm share has you eating with the growing season, and with your pre-paid subscription you’re contributing to the stability of a small and local producer.
Dirt under the fingernails and you’re own diesel rototiller?
Rent Mother Nature takes you to the next level of connectedness while keeping your fingernails clean. Similar to but more direct than a CSA, RMN inserts you into the growing cycle by leasing you your own little corner of the farm. You’ll lay claim to a beehive in the Catskills, an oyster bed on the Puget Sound, or a pistachio tree in the Arizona desert, and for one season the harvest is yours.
Massachusetts-based Rent Mother Nature was started in 1979 as a way of helping small-scale New England farmers improve their pre-harvest cash flow. The company now works with farms across the country and even a few from other parts of the world, so you can lease an organic date palm tree in California, a wild rice bed on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota, or a cocoa tree in the rainforest of Costa Rica.
Rent Mother Nature sends out periodic progress reports during the growing season, and many of the farmers welcome personal visits from lease-holders. There is a minimum guaranteed bounty, and a roll-over to the next season if it’s not met. If it’s a bumper crop, you’ll get first dibs on the larder.
Rent Mother Nature partners with artisanal producers and farmers practicing natural and organic agriculture, and engages in fair-trade in foreign countries. When you lease a dairy cow you’ll get wheels of brie or cheddar from an animal you’re on a first-name basis with. The sap of your leased sugar maple tree is boiled into syrup in a traditional wood-fired sugarhouse in the Adirondacks. The wheat from your leased acre of land is sent to a Rhode Island mill that’s been operating since 1711, and the great-great-grandchildren of the Massachusetts textile mill’s original owner are still shearing the wool and custom-weaving the blanket from your leased sheep.
On the Rent Mother Nature website you’ll find nearly two dozen 2013-2014 leases available for crops and products including prolifically-producing Florida citrus or Georgia peach trees that can be leased in their entirety or by the branch, lobster trap leases that land you the yield from a ten-day fishing trip in Maine, and hive leases for jars of raw, unfiltered honey produced by a single, flower-specific beehive.