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I’m a long time Kossack, though it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  Nonetheless, I’ve been here reading, and I know that our community can join together to accomplish remarkable things.  I’m hoping Kossacks who love local farms, good cheese, and happy cows will pitch in for this campaign.

When my fiancé and I moved back to St. Louis in January, our first act--before even settling on an apartment--was joining a local community-supported agriculture (CSA) group.  If you’re unfamiliar with CSAs, they basically work by connecting farmers and customers in a more direct relationship.  Customers agree to pay a set subscription price each month, and in return we get a weekly share of fresh, locally-grown produce and other tasty foods.  Fair Shares, our CSA, is combined, bringing together several dozen farms from the greater St. Louis area.  In any given week, we pick up a share of veggies, usually a choice of meat, and often some handcrafted treats like bread or canned relishes and apple butter.  Our CSA share easily accounts for 2/3 of our meals for the week, and we can dine more comfortably when we know our food is from farms we could visit, grown by farmers we can meet and talk to.

Doesn't this look like a happy cow?
One of the farms in our CSA is a family-owned and operated dairy farm just across the river in Greenville, Illinois: the Marcoot Jersey Creamery.   The Marcoots do it right.  For seven generations they’ve raised jersey cows using sustainable practices.  Today the Marcoot sisters and their families produce cheese curds, quarks, and soft cheeses that are simply the best I’ve ever tasted.  Their cows are grassfed and they aren’t loaded up with artificial hormones and antibiotics.  I've met one of the Marcoot sisters at the weekly farmers' market in Tower Grove Park, and her love for their cows and their products is crystal clear.

The Marcoots would like to purchase a cheese press so they can increase their repertoire and produce harder cheeses like cheddar and colby. Fair Shares has helped out by creating a campaign on Kickstarter.  Members of the CSA have chipped in, and the campaign is now 76% funded-- but they still need to raise another $3,500 (of $15,020) within the next 28 hours, or the campaign will fail and the Marcoots won't receive any of the funding. Sadly, such is the way of Kickstarter.

Donate $30 or more and you can name a calf!  How about "Kossack"?
This is where (hopefully) you fantastic Kossacks come in.  Check out the campaign and consider chipping in a few bucks.  If you don't live near St. Louis or southern Illinois, it may be pretty hard for the Marcoots to send you any of their fantastic cheese curds as a perk, but maybe you could request that they or Fair Shares donate yours to a local food bank?  That would really make someone's day!

I leave you with some more information about the dairy and this campaign, from Amy Marcoot herself:

Marcoot Jersey Creamery is a farmstead (all the cheese is made on our farm from our cows milk) artisan creamery in Greenville, IL. We are grass-fed, all natural, hormone free, and all Jersey. We, Amy and Beth Marcoot, were born and raised on the farm. Our parents encouraged us to leave the farm to get our education. They specifically told us that staying on the farm was not a sustainable way to live and that we should leave. Five years ago our dad, John Marcoot, told us that he was planning on selling the cows as he did not know how much longer he could manage the farm. At that point, we decided that we wanted to see the farm stay in our family. We considered many options and decided a value-added business, our creamery, would be the way we would attempt to become more sustainable. A few years later, we were breaking ground for our dream. We have been making cheese for over two years now.

A major component to our sustainability is making great products. That is our goal everyday. There are a few pieces of equipment we need to buy for the quality of our products to continue improving. A cheese press is the major piece of equipment we need. We are very excited about making a great cheddar and possibly even a colby cheese. We cannot do this well without a cheese press. Not only will we be able to add new cheeses, some of the cheeses we are currently making will improve with a cheese press.

Discuss

Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:13 AM PST

Daily Kos Demographics 3: Pets?

by Varlokkur

So how about a special light-hearted poll for Monday?

Let's find out how many of our DKos neighbors are pet-owners!

Poll

Pets? I've got pets! I've got (a):

27%119 votes
41%177 votes
21%91 votes
0%4 votes
0%1 votes
0%2 votes
0%0 votes
1%7 votes
0%1 votes
0%3 votes
0%3 votes
1%6 votes
0%3 votes
1%6 votes
1%8 votes

| 431 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Hello Kossacks,

First of all, I want to thank everyone for participating in yesterday's age poll.  A bonus "thank you" to those who rec'd the diary, earning me my first trip to the rec list! Hurray! I needed the morale boost (it's finals week).

If you haven't already voted in the age poll, head on over and add yourself to the dataset now.

Today's poll gathers info about the DKos community members' gender, marital status, and sexual orientation.  

Poll

I identify as a: (end-of-2008 edition)

26%2064 votes
7%579 votes
30%2347 votes
17%1335 votes
1%116 votes
0%62 votes
3%307 votes
5%465 votes
1%125 votes
0%58 votes
1%89 votes
1%94 votes
1%142 votes

| 7783 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:07 PM PST

Daily Kos Demographics: Age Poll

by Varlokkur

I'm sure there have been more recent polls of the Daily Kos community than those listed in the DKos Demographicspage***, but I can't for the life of me find them (search tips welcome, if you have better luck).  

So come on by and click the appropriate box.  Today's poll: Age.  Tomorrow I'll move on to gender/orientation/marital status, then income, ethnicity, etc., following the categories that have been polled for previously.

***NOTE: If you follow the link above to the dKosopedia page and check out the earlier polls from 2004 and 2005, please follow the suggestions to NOT vote in those polls.  Preserve them for historical analysis.  Has the Daily Kos trended younger or older since '04?  Are we spreading into new regions of the country?  Etc.

I will also update the dKosopedia with links to these diaries, afterward.  

Apologies if anyone dislikes the categories or age ranges I use in these polls, but for the sake of maintaining comparative data sets, I am copying the ones used in 2004/05 by JMS and pHunbalanced.

Poll

How old are you? End-of-2008 edition

0%91 votes
5%622 votes
9%994 votes
9%958 votes
10%1091 votes
14%1544 votes
17%1775 votes
16%1720 votes
11%1170 votes
3%365 votes
1%105 votes

| 10435 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03:21 PM PDT

Senator McCain, We are Barack Obama

by Varlokkur

Senator McCain, your party appears less cohesive with each passing day, what with some of its nuttier members finally being called out for their extreme views, and the more intelligent members endorsing Obama left and right. One would expect you to re-tool your platform and come up with a new set of ideas to move forward... but instead, you and your aides are clinging to the strategy of stirring up hatred and preying on voters' fears. You seem to think that a 'character assassination' of Barack Obama is your best (only?) remaining chance of stealing the election in November.

Well, Senator McCain, we've got news for you:

Poll

What should McCain and the GOP fear most?

1%2 votes
1%2 votes
33%47 votes
7%10 votes
18%26 votes
37%52 votes

| 139 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

China may put on a fantastic show, but let's hope that viewers don't lose sight of the bigger picture behind the scenes.

The selection of former 'Lost Boy' Lopez Lomong as the U.S. flag-bearer is a much more important event.

Continue Reading
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