Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Philosophy of Community Supported Agriculture

The following text is taken from the book, Backyard Market Gardening by Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman. This is why we believe in the CSA model.

Community Supported Agriculture has a philosophy of socially and ecologically responsible agriculture. The farmers and the shareholders feel a need to treat the earth and ourselves in a user friendly fashion. We do not want to use chemicals or intensive tilling practices that will degenerate the soil. Instead, wherever possible, we want to use organic and biodynamic practices that will enrich the soil and, in turn, enrich our own lives.

In addition, we have a genuine desire to grow food for our fellow humankind. We want to know personally the people who are eating the produce we raise. The conventional market place does not have an established niche for this class of agricultural entrepreneur, so we look to the Community Supported Farm for a model of social sustainability.
In turn, the consumer shareholders have the opportunity to know that farmer who produces their food. They can share in the regeneration of the earth and their bodies through the raising and consumption of naturally grown produce. These members often come to feel that the farm is “theirs”. They enjoy coming to the farm for field days and to help with intensive planting and harvesting chores. They look forward to coming together socially in a relaxed atmosphere, close to nature and their families and friends.

To understand Community Supported Agriculture we must first recognize that the conventional food industry doesn’t give a hoot about the family farmer or the consumer. Conventional agriculture practices have absolutely driven small-scale farmers to a cash crop monoculture. To pay back borrowed capital, farmers have to use high performance practices, often at the expense of their land, health, and quality of life.
It is important for the potential community farmer to diversify all capitalization and crop risk over the numbers of a committed consumer group. In conventional models the farmer has always born the total risk. With membership gardening and CSA farming the consumers are accepting part of that risk.

The result of this cooperation of farmer and consumer in the CSA model is that everyone has the satisfaction of becoming part of the solution. They no longer have to remain part of the problem. It brings the community back to farming, and the farmer back to the community. The public needs to know where their food comes from and the amount of work, knowledge, and capital investment it takes to be a farmer today. The farmers need to know that someone cares, and is willing to support them.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More Planting...

On Friday we were able to plant more Spring crops:
Carrots--Little Finger
Turnips--Purple Top White Globe
Lettuce--Green Ice
Mesclun--Salad Mix
Sweet Peas (the flower)
And, we got started on our asparagus patch with the variety Jersey King
We also planted some early corn and experimented with planting potatoes with the corn worked pretty good with a few modifications from our resident mechanic/inventor. This rain we are getting came just in time to water our new plantings. The next things to go in are cabbage starts (as soon as it is dry enough) and some more herbs as well. Also, within the next week we will be planting more early sweet corn and a new variety of tomato called Cold Set.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Farm Pics...

These pictures are of the guys out in the field, the organic fertilizer mix (made from soybean meal, garden lime, bone meal, and gypsum), and my seedlings coming up in the raised beds.

Today we were able to plant onions (yellow, red, and white), Chioggia (Bullseye) beets, Sparkler radish, Watermelon radish, turnips, and Avalanche snow peas. Tomorrow morning we will finish what didn't get planted today. More updates to come...

Farm Pics...

Above are pictures of the old John Deere corn planter and Massey Ferguson tractor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Busy At The Farm

We have been pretty busy lately at the farm. Trees are planted and need watered, along with the spring vegetables planted in the raised beds. The tractor is running, so the fields are plowed and the natural fertilizer mix has been applied. Tomorrow, bright and early we will be up plotting out our garden beds and planting more springtime goodies...peas, greens, lettuces, onions, beets, radishes and the like. Rain is in the weekend forecast, which will be good timing for our new plantings. I will try to post pictures tomorrow of all the happenings around Picket Fence Farm. Until then, fare thee well.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some Seeds Are Planted...

We got a few seeds in the ground this past weekend. The tractor was still out of commission last week and it was a nice day to plant, so I was able to plant the two raised beds next to the fenced garden, then covered them with a floating row cover. The seeds planted are:
Spinach-Baby's Leaf
Mesclun-Salad Mix
Lettuce-Looseleaf Blend
Carrot-Little Finger
Turnip-Purple Top White Globe
Onion-Yellow Stuttgarter
Onion-Evergreen Long White Bunching
We still have a lot to plant, but this at least gets us started. We were also able to plant two apple trees that we ordered from Stark Bros. The varieties are Red Rome Beauty and Golden Delicious. We hope to plant more fruit trees later as well. Next up...asparagus, potatoes, and more spring veggies!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A New Compost Bin

My husband was able to construct a nifty compost bin this weekend out of free pallets. I think it will work well for making organic compost for the gardens. We may try to fabricate fronts for them, or we may leave them open so we can turn the piles with the tractor or skid loader. We will be layering the compost materials in the bins (brown... like leaves, grass clippings and veggie scraps, and soil to help activate and make it compost even faster). We will probably also add things like egg shells, coffee grounds, and maybe manure. We will soon be making black gold for the garden!

The Finished Deer Fence

Here are some pictures of the finished deer fence around the garden. It was pretty easy to put up and we are happy with how it looks. It is nearly invisible from a distance, so they recommend using a colored flagging tape on the fence so the deer won't run right into it. Time will tell if this system will work...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Organic Fertilizer Recipe

The following "recipe" is for the organic fertilizer mix we will be using this season, along with some aged horse manure.

4 parts soy bean meal
1 part bone meal
1/2 part garden lime
1/4 part gypsum

If the weather cooperates with us, we hope to be in the field this coming weekend, amending the soil and planting our first spring crops! We'll be starting with lettuce, spinach, carrot, radish, beets, peas and onions. We'll also be working on the beginnings of our asparagus patch. I can't wait to get out there! Pictures will be coming soon of our finished fence too.

*(I should add that this recipe calls for 1/4 part dolomite also, but we have not been able to find it in our area.)