1972-73: The Story of “Farmers’ Feed,” the Coastside’s Food Co-Op by Michaele Benedict


The Story of “Farmers’ Feed: by Michaele Benedict***

In 1972 and 1973 dwellers “in the boonies near and about Half Moon Bay, Californiaâ€? formed a food club which they called Farmers’ Feed. Members published a slender volume, the Farmers’ Feed Book, whose contents included recipes and articles on beekeeping, homemade animal feeds, companionate planting, goat-keeping, sprouts, chicken raising, and even a chicken vocabulary.

The introduction to the book said “Farmers’ Feed is a cooperative food purchasing and distributing group whose members live in the country south of Half Moon Bay, California. Almost our only common denominator is our countryness. Some of us are strict organic vegetarians and some secretly indulge in supermarket prepared foods in darkened attics. What unifies us is that we are all ex-urbanites come to roost in the same peaceful rookery. We make our living writing, breeding horses, teaching, drawing, building, filming, planning. This cookbook reflects our diversity. We hope you and your beasts enjoy our country table.â€?

(Image: Land tithe, courtesy Mikie Benedict.)

The book urged a land tithe: Put back a tenth of what you take from the earth.

Contributors to the book were Suzanne White, Gene Fleet, Bryant Wollman, Valerie Hawes, Toni De Bari, Patrick Kitchen, Laurel Jernigan, Stanley Scholl, Barbara Freeman and Michaele Benedict.

(Image: Bryant Wollman was a member of the Farmers’ Co-op. For many years he lived at rural Tunitas Creek and worked at the post office in Half Moon Bay. He is posing in front of the world-famous magician Channing Pollock’s home in Moss Beach, circa 1979. )

Advertisers and well-wishers were The Abalone Shop, Palace Ranch, Tunitas Glen Gardens, the Great White Whale Company, Hawes Place, Garret Gallery,
Hansel-Freeman Apple Works, the Water Works, Take 313, Ford Sunshine Company, and Ed Johnson, the Agricultural Extension Agent.

Farmers’ Feed members took turns shopping for bulk food items, mostly in Santa Cruz. In fall of 1972, they put on a theatrical production, “The Ballad of Spanishtown Sueâ€?, first at the Hawes Ranch and later at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society.


***Author Michaele Benedict lives in Montara. To read Mikie’s “Searching for Anna” website click here