Jump to content

- - - - -

40,000 show up when a farming family invites people to gather surplus produce

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Hippie3



  • Founders
  • 40,642 posts

Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:50 AM

Down on the farm, a frenzy over free food

In a sign of bad economic times, more than 40,000 show up when a Weld County family invites people to gather surplus produce.

Want one more palpable sign of a desperate economy?
An estimated 40,000 people came to a Weld County farm Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks.
Cars snaked around cornfields and parallel parked along Colorado 66 and 119 early in the morning to get free food from the Miller family, who farm 600 acres outside of Platteville, about 37 miles north of Denver.
As this prolonged Indian summer continued, the Millers had decided to give away produce because so much was left over at the end of their annual fall festival. Any day now, a few deep freezes would kill it off.
They expected between 5,000 and 10,000 people spread out over a couple of days. Instead, they found themselves on Saturday morning inundated with cars and people with sacks and wagons and barrels ready to harvest whatever was available.
The Millers canceled the second day of the giveaway originally planned for today because, as Chris Miller put it, "the pickins' are very slim now."
At one point, 30 acres of family farmland had become a parking lot. Their crowd estimate of 40,000 plus was based on the number of cars. Sheriff's officials said they "wouldn't be surprised" if that count was accurate.
Traffic was backed up almost to Interstate 25, and police ticketed people who had illegally abandoned their cars in the frenzy.
"Overwhelmed is putting it mildly," Miller said. "People obviously need food."
Evidently, Platteville isn't the only place where this is the case. Last week in Denver, thieves broke into freezers owned by the Park Hill Grandparents Organization and stole Thanksgiving trimmings — including more than a dozen frozen turkeys — set to be donated.
And in Lakewood on Saturday, people lined up in the dark at 6 a.m. to collect Thanksgiving boxes, donated by the Jeffco Action Center. By the end of the day, 5,141 people had gotten food — the biggest demand in 40 years.
At the Miller Farm, it never got truly unruly.
They had friends and family members help direct cars. Sheriff's deputies cruised up and down highways trying to move traffic along, after fielding complaints from neighbors.
The family makes most of its money in the summer and fall, visiting 42 farmers markets a week, and hosting a fall festival where relatives charge an entry fee and then teach people about where their food comes from.
Normally, any unpicked produce goes back to the land. But after hearing reports of food being stolen from some nearby churches, the Millers decided to let people take what they wanted for free.
Sandra Justice, a Greeley resident who works at a technology company, brought her mother and son to pick potatoes. The price was nice, she said, but Justice also enjoyed picking her own food in these downtrodden times.
"Everybody is so depressed about the economy," she said, noting she hauled off about 10 bags of vegetables. "This was a pure party. Everybody having a great time getting something for free."

#2 wildburr


    Wildest of Burrs

  • Honorary Former Staff
  • 4,657 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:09 AM

All I can say is wow. Kudos to the Miller family, its that kind of generosity that helps restore a little faith in humanity. :eusa_clap
And it never got unruly. A potentially bad situation handled very nicely. :)

#3 Ras Asad

Ras Asad

    Amor vincit omnia

  • Expired Member
  • 3,741 posts

Posted 30 November 2008 - 10:07 AM


#4 TVCasualty


    Embrace Your Damage

  • Moderator
  • 14,652 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 30 November 2008 - 10:09 AM

That's pretty amazing, and I can see it as both a good sign and a bad one.

It's a bad one for all the obvious reasons, but on the other hand there might be an element of reconnecting with the processes that sustain life going on that is very positive. Years of chasing disposable consumer goods has not satisfied anyone, faith has been lost in 'leaders' who seem only capable of looting the Treasury and hauling it off in private jets, and the ongoing economic squeeze has forced most people to stop or at least slow down and reevaluate their lives and priorities. It's enough to make a person feel disconnected, and that's a scary feeling.

The people who went to that farm had to drive there, so we're not talking about the utterly destitute or 'the homeless' as they are conventionally perceived; after packing their cars with vegetables they likely drove back to their houses, which is not how it works on the literal Skid Row. So maybe (and this is my speculation) what's going on here is also a subconscious, or even conscious, desire to reconnect with the actual physical processes that keep them alive.

In a nutshell, I think a lot of the people who showed up desperately needed to get their hands dirty in some actual soil; something their minds could accept as Real that could be seen, felt, smelled, and understood. When the world appears to be spinning out of control, putting your hands in the ground and pulling food out of it is a very calming, empowering, and grounding activity. Whether the desire to physically reconnect with the soil was conscious or not is irrelevant, we need to maintain that connection or we risk going insane IMO. Better late than never.

#5 eatyualive



  • Honorary Former Staff
  • 6,153 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:07 PM

yeah read this one the other day. amazing. and scary at the same time. wonder if people were fighting over it.

#6 mycobri


    Stained Blue

  • Honorary Former Staff
  • 3,508 posts

Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:14 PM

that was a nice thing to do

although it is safer to stay away from large crowds of hungry people
it seems no one was hurt :eusa_clap

#7 Irishlion


    Holding Tank

  • Expired Member
  • 4,833 posts

Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:24 PM

Evidently, Platteville isn't the only place where this is the case. Last week in Denver, thieves broke into freezers owned by the Park Hill Grandparents Organization and stole Thanksgiving trimmings — including more than a dozen frozen turkeys — set to be donated.

WOW IMO those people if they stole the food to sell it or make any kind of profit from it deserve to be punished and punished hard for taking food from needy familys.

Now if they stole it because they needed it then they should have some repercutions for stealing as i hate a theif, But, sometime you have to do what ya have to do to survive. But, if you are stealing to make a profit and taking from needy family IMO you deserve everything you get and then some. Karma is a bitch.

#8 Jigalow



  • Free Member
  • 654 posts

Posted 30 November 2008 - 12:45 PM

I had a few friends that went to this. They called me and said
they was shocked that there was no bullshit for the amount of people.
Wide range of people to. Just glad The Millers had no damages!


Like Mycotopia? Become a member today!