First, check out my guest post at Scientific American Blogs as part of their "Passions of Food Day" Blog Fest.
Also, just keeping you all updated (as much as I can within the confidentiality guidelines), we got our first call about a foster placement, in this case a group of five children. It isn't clear that we would be asked to take all five - we might be asked to take 3, 4, or 5, depending on different possible scenarios. It isn't at all clear whether we would take all five children (which is more than we hand planned to accept, although we do feel strongly about keeping siblings together) or that we would take any of the children - we are pending more information, which is probably pending them pinning down different possible scenarios. At the moment, we wait and speculate. For the present, it is an ongoing, rather than acute situation - the children (or some of the children) may not come into care or not soon, and there are a lot of uncertainties. We will certainly keep y'all updated - once we know anything ourselves.
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One of the few things I think the USDA did that simply successful, was to organize the county fair.
Not the midway and side show. Not the Agribusiness biggest tractor display. Not even the coin toss and bingo tent.
The agricultural competition. In each county, farmers and farm families were encouraged to enter and ask about what works well, what crops and livestock and techniques make the better butter, grain, work horse, and meat animal. What shearing techniques are simpler, better for animal and later use of the wool. What pie recipes and preservation techniques result in the better taste, the better food.
I suspect the county fair, where the question is asked, "What is the most productive method in this area?" and, "What makes the best crop or livestock?" Because farmers at the time had a problem with small farmers today -- they had limited resources to tinker about much on their own, and little extra to risk on experiments. And they needed to see someone local, using local tools and crops, could raise a better crop. They needed to respect the person they learned from. And the lowly, county fair provided that venue that did improve techniques.
I don't know that the county fair necessarily has to result in agribusiness overcoming local food security. I mean, Monsanto, Case Tractor, and agribusiness lenders tend to see a gathering of farmers as unexploited market opportunities. I suppose a 300% excise tax on agricultural fuel, commercial pesticides, and agricultural lending might lessen the risk. But we don't have those dis-incentives now, not in the US, and with the clout in Congress of these lobbies, I won't be holding my breath until such risk-abatement occurs.
Sorry. I am a guy. I cannot help offering a 'fix' to the problem.
I was *just* wondering about the kid status! Thanks for the update, and I wish all of you well in the process. I am so grateful that there are people like you out there, who see a need and are willing and able to help.
I'm so glad to hear that you've considered the sibling problems. We have a family here that fosters and has adopted several of thier foster children, and with one exception (the girl was a teenager and chose not to stay with her siblings) they choose to take sibling groups. At last count, they had adopted 8 of their fosters, and now have a 9th. There isn't much that could be more stressful for a child in a foster situation than being separated from both thier parents and thier home and then on top of it all, thier siblings.
You're gonna need a bigger muppaphone.
Lynne, you win best comment of the day. BTW, Kate, the decision to place them together or apart will not be ours to make - I prefer to keep siblings together too. In this case, the question is complicated in a whole host of ways I can't go into.