Shine On: Chris O’Brien!

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Name: Chris O’Brien, a.k.a. Sir Farms-a-Lot

Shining Credits:  Started Philadelphia’s first CSA bike delivery program dropping shares of fruits and vegetables off weekly to people’s doorstep.                         

Shining Soundtrack:  Simple Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd

Personal hero:  My grandparents. Watching two people love each other for 60+ years was a magical thing. It shaped much of who I am today. When things in life get really crazy and modern day anxieties kick in, I think about them and think- keep it simple. A parallel can be drawn for agriculture in many ways. Keep it simple.

What inspired this accomplishment? This shine was inspired by a few things; my interest in agriculture (rural and urban), my desire to be as close to self-sufficient as possible and the ever-growing need to provide communities with local and healthy food.  I signed up to work for Henry Got Crops Farm.

Late last April, we still had CSA shares to sell.  I put out flyers at my bar and hit up my friends to see who was down. Most were down. I heard rumors our coop had a bike cart… good. A+B= a motha f*ckin bike delivery to my friends with vegetables I grew. Without these guys I would have had no one to bike these tasty veggies to. I like bikes!

6 word life mission statement (expanded)- Keep it simple. Do good. And, most importantly, do your part.

Pros/cons:  Honestly, there were days where it rained like hell on me and days when people wouldn’t be home/left me waiting/didn’t answer their phones. Still, the hand-to-hand delivery of tasty veggies to people I knew and cared about, of food I had planted and produced was something I genuinely enjoyed. 

The only true con was feeling unappreciated. This only happened once during my deliveries but happened quite often with CSA members. I have worked on CSA’s in the country and never had this problem with members. However, one terribly unpleasant truth to having an urban farm and/or CSA is exposure. People in the city see an urban farm as local, healthy food.  Great. However, they have no connection with the land. In the country people see cow pastures, vegetable farms, trees and a connection to land is made. Many people in the city lack this connection to the earth. They want local, they want healthy, they want organic, but they want it NOW!!

The hustle bustle of urban living breeds this need for immediacy and convenience that, honestly, just doesn’t f*cking happen when you are growing seasonal produce; especially without spraying chemicals or pesticides. Either way, I guess you need the rain to appreciate the sunshine. And, this is exactly why growing and delivering to those close to me, really made this special for me.

Best Day- I had just finished my 2nd week delivery; two friends/CSA members met me at my apartment in South Philly to pick up their shares. We put our heads and CSA shares together yielding a huge delicious dinner. As we ate, voiced my frustration with the lack of people who care about local farming and food quality. I was really on a rant. My friend calmed me down, interjecting, “look around dude, were three good friends eating good food that we all participated in the production of together, this is what it’s all about.” It was a beautiful moment I’ll never forget.

 

 Locally Grown,

A Warrior Princess

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2 comments on “Shine On: Chris O’Brien!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Chris seems very committed to what he does. I like his word statement, especially, “do your part”. Sometimes we forget that doing “your part” does not have to be extravagant. Just a small part helps to make the whole part a lot better. Thanks Cris for all you do to keep the world moving in a healthier way.

  2. ChrisO says:

    aww thank you, Anonymous. Maybe next year i’ll be delivering to your doorstep?

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