The 10 Commandments of Responsible Farm Sourcing - Originally published Aug., 2016

As the real food movement has grown, we've seen a huge increase in the amount of families seeking their food from alternative sources -- like private farms.

And we've also seen an increase in the amount of farmers who are willing to provide us with wonderful, nourishing food.

These are good developments, but along with this growth comes some confusion and unintended consequences. Many a farmer has been burned by a customer who just didn't understand.

Buying from a farmer is different than buying from a grocery store. Different rules apply. You have to learn to think in a whole new way.

The bottom line is this: we have to treat our farmers and sources well so they will continue to be there for us.

We've put together this guide for a start.

Let's treat our farmers right.


Laurie and Jamie

1| Be considerate.

The greatest of the Farm Sourcing commandments, encompassing all of the others. The old adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” applies in full force here.

When in doubt as to how to act when sourcing — and in life — remember #1.

2| What thou orderest, must thou buy…whether or not thou still needs it!

The moment you place the order, consider it a binding contract.

We've heard many a tragic tale of a farmer stuck with goods that were ordered by well-meaning people…and then abandoned.

Remember: your farmer plans his farm production and finances around your orders. Often, to fulfill your order, they must first invest their own money and resources. In essence, if you don’t pay for what you ordered, you are stealing from your farmer.

If you find you cannot use what you ordered, it is your responsibility to pay for and pick up your order, as you promised. (Then feel free to find another home for it!)

3| Expect to educate and to be educated.

The farmer/customer relationship is a relationship. Farmers are not mind readers. Tell them exactly what you want to buy and provide the literature so everyone understands.

In return, the farmer will have a lot to teach you, too. Make sure to listen.

4| Be helpful and friendly.

You and your farmer have entered into a relationship, and he or she is a human being, too. He will need help from time to time and you are in a great position to be of help. Help as much as you can and give freely of your cheerfulness!

Remember: a smile costs you nothing and pays great dividends!

5| Remember that a farm is someone’s home.

Treat it with the same respect you’d want people to show at your home.

Homes are where people sleep — don’t pull in at 11:47 PM and flash your headlights in the windows.