Friday, February 8, 2013

Farm Out!

Always dress like you’re gonna be in a movie. Cuz ya just never know. Recently, I arrived at my community farm to pick up my weekly share of lush and organic vegetables, and I thought there’d been a plane crash or a breaking news story. There was a large RV set up with cars, trucks and movie crew types crawling all over the place with cameras and equipment I had only dreamed about in my 18 years as a TV investigative reporter.


Turns out, the General Motors Corporation was making a gynormous movie about Geraldson Community Farm. This project highlights amazing things going on in local communities around the country. This traveling crew shoots and produces the raw and final product.

I was just off from a hard day at the office…at my gym where I began the day at 8 a.m. with personal training clients. Suffice it to say, I did not look like I had just stepped out of one of my city’s top beauty salons. Nope…I had my hair pulled back in a wispy, wind-blown ponytail, wearing a track team running shirt and a sorry, saggy pair of gym pants. I couldn’t have looked any worse if I tried. However, the moment I uttered the words, “I used to work in TV,” they were all over it. “Want to be interviewed?” Who could refuse to talk about a great cause? They asked me to turn my shirt inside-out so the distracting running logo wouldn’t show. Whatever. In 3, 2, 1…

When they asked what the farm meant to me, here’s what I said.

I have belonged to a farm or food co-op since my children were young. I had an organic garden up north and grew kale, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, okra, lettuces and a lot more. I used to brag about the field trip when the farmer would hold up a piece of greenery and ask, “what’s this?” and my kids would say kale. The farmer was amazed any 3 year-old knew the difference between spinach and kale. But since we grew it, they all could recognize it. And they loved it. There’s plenty of calcium in kale, and it’s very absorbable by the bones.

There was a farmer’s stand where I’d take the kids to get things the co-op didn’t offer. I’ll never forget one of my girls popping a sugar snap peapod in her mouth and asking, “is this candy?” It’s all what they got used to. Until kindergarten.

I valued belonging to a farm co-op so that my children could see where food comes from. Some kids in my cooking classes cannot identify many vegetables.

Not long after we moved here, I discovered Geraldson’s Community Farm in Bradenton, FL. It is across from a beautiful nature preserve where I run once a week on soft trails.

It is operated as a CSA or Community  Supported Agriculture. Since Florida has a long growing season, it works out to about $15-$20 a week …enough food to fill up the frig. Some people choose a half share, which allows members to go every other week. Here’s the website to find out more information.

You can go to and find a farm near you. Some allow cultivating a plot of land yourself. Others allow volunteers to work and get produce free. It is great to be able to see where your food comes from, or fun to just plant seeds, smell the rich earth and listen to birds.

I asked the crew what they would do with the video. Surely with all that equipment they were making a documentary or a commercial. “No,” the producer said, “we’re making an I-Phone app.” An I-Phone app? Are you kidding?! Wow…times have changed. Apparently there’s more money to be made on phone applications than other forms of advertising. Oh well. No movie career just yet.

Recently, Geraldson’s had sugar snap peas. I lingered in the field, picking some, then eating some. I could hear my 3 year-old asking, “Are they candy?” She’s studying to be a doctor now. It was a glorious day at the farm. Look for us on an App near you.

Ellen Jaffe Jones is an accomplished endurance runner, author of the best seller “Eat Vegan on $4 a Day,” Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified personal trainer and RRCA certified running coach. For questions, coaching or training, she can be reached at or 941-704-1025. She trains privately and online or by e-mail. Signed copies of her book are at

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