THE RUSTY GEAR
The Rusty Gear is an ode to Charlie Koiner and the old rusty tools that he used to use. However, it has become a symbol for something far greater than old farm tools.
Quite simply, the Rusty Gear is an analogy for a farm within a food system.
Like a gear within a machine, a farm within a community keeps inputs and outputs cycling through the system. For example, waste from a local coffee shop or brewery can be used as compost additives to help build healthy soils. In return, the farm can grow fresh greens and herbs for the restaurants. In this example, the farm is the gear that keeps the local food system turning. Much like a gear, a farm can provide a few benefits on its own, but is most productive and effective when working in coordination with other elements within the system.
Continuing with this analogy, lets image that a gear within a machine is damaged or removed. In this case, the machine will likely sputter, stall, and eventually fail. Likewise, should farms become damaged or removed - say from infertile land, polluted water, unfair working conditions, suburban sprawl, or loss of family farms - the food system, in turn, will sputter, stall and eventually fail.
Finally, neither the size nor the location of the gear within the machine indicates its importance within the system. Each gear, no matter how big or small, has an important role to play in the effective functioning of the system. So too does each and every farm.