What’s been going on!
First, we will be back at the Wednesday market today, 3:00-6:00! Beautiful day and enough produce to make a show. Come see us!
An unusual morning yesterday. Strange times require new things. I was asked to go to the General Assembly and participate in a press conference for the roll out of a proposed bill, by Republican legislators, for the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina. Let that sink in.
When the NGO folks who contacted me said they were going to try to expand Medicaid to NC and asked if I could speak to the needs of farmers for health insurance I thought someone was pulling my leg and then realized they were serious and I said sure. All of the bluster and horse trading around health care legislation in DC and here is disheartening, mostly misguided and very real and scary for us.
Farmers, like many small businesses, have to buy their own health insurance. We don’t have the luxury of working for the school system, or a big drug company or the state government. Farming is the sixth most dangerous occupation. The number one reason that farms go out of business is not a crop failure or a hurricane or export market pressures, it is because someone gets sick or hurt and they can’t pay the medical bills and have to sell the farm or declare bankruptcy because they could not afford insurance.
It is one of the main reasons that something like 90% of all farms have someone with an off farm job, partly because many farmers don’t really make enough money to be profitable and so they can get benefits through their off farm employment. We are some of the rare birds that don’t have off farm jobs, we make our entire living from these four acres! We have always managed to afford health insurance, knowing we needed to for the possibility of something happening, that is why it is called insurance.
The Affordable Care Act has been a dream for us, good coverage at affordable prices. Before the ACA, our insurance costs were getting beyond our reach up to 10% of our gross farm income. If we had to buy in the open market today it would be nearly 25% and we would not have insurance until we can get to Medicare, 4 long years from now.
I told them that if they really cared about growth, jobs and particularly the rural economy as they all profess then this was as much a jobs bill as it was access to health care for the working poor. 17% of all jobs in NC are in agriculture and small business creates the majority of new jobs. While this legislation fills but a small gap it is at least a glimmer of hope in a sometimes very dark discussion.
Picture of the Week
Lots of beautiful lettuce on the way
What’s going to be at the market?Do not forget that the market hours have changed! Summer hours- 7:00-noon. We will be at the Wednesday market this week, 3:00-6:00!
Get your Ranunculus here! Yells the barker, in yellows, oranges, reds and pinks. Anemones are still with us too but beginning to slow down for the season. Poppies are close!
Lettuces- New this week a mix of small colorful heads for make your own salads. Braising mix and some lovely Spinach. A ton of Red Radishes and sweet Japanese Turnips. More baby Bok Choi. The first Lacinato Kale on Saturday!
As a reminder if there is anything that you would like for us to hold for you at market just let us know by e-mail, by the evening before, and we will be glad to put it aside for you. Just so you know, sometimes not everything listed will be at the Wednesday market.
Hope to see you all at the market!
Alex, Betsy and Jennie
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