The Internet provides the only connection Mark and Sandy Brown need to sign up for weekly deliveries of fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruit, even meat. The Jacksonville couple joined two community-supported agriculture programs with just a few keyboard clicks.
"Most of 'em have really good Web interfaces," says 47-year-old Mark Brown.
To understand how their food was grown and harvested, the Browns could read local farmers' blogs or "friend" the farms on Facebook, but the couple put aside technology for a centuries-old form of networking — the barn dance. With 5-year-old son CJ in tow, the Browns and more than 100 other local families spent a May afternoon at Central Point's Hanley Farm eating chili and cornbread, stomping their feet to fiddling, touring the fields by horse-drawn wagon and meeting their farmers.
"You want your kids to learn where the food comes from, that it's not just what you buy at the grocery store," says 41-year-old Sandy Brown.
Local farmers are more than happy to teach that lesson and increasingly interact with customers outside growers markets.