the strategy of crooked cucumbers

posted December 18, 2017

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credit: Max Pixel

In the southwest German city of Freiburg, there is a successful co-op of some 260 people who are participating in successful organic vegetable gardening and sharing the costs and risks. Whatever the harvest, good or poor, it’s distributed to all members. Cucumbers are allowed to be bent, carrots entwined, the occasional lettuce smaller than average. Seasonal, totally organic growing, 100% original seed, local food production, solidarity economics, collective property and education are some of the many hallmarks of the work that they are doing.
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community finance, resilience and agriculture

posted November 3, 2017

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credit: Brookford Farm 

Growing Magazine recently published a good examination of community finance, community resilience and community agriculture – the CSA model. They profile 3 different farms: Brookford Farm in NH, Norwich Meadows Farm NY, and Prairierth Farm IL, all of whom are practicing a modified, diversified form of CSA and are thriving!  (more…)


let’s get everyone to the table

posted May 2, 2017

Just Roots is an incredible, beloved farm and non-profit in my own community. They provide low-income CSA shares, community garden plots, a communal medical garden, and low-cost accessible workshops at their farm. They are fundraising today to offset the cost of providing shares on a sliding scale and to expand their programming! If you have a penny to spare, this is a great jar to throw it in!


rip trauger groh, “farming adept”

posted August 8, 2016

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Though we are a couple weeks late in the posting, we wanted to honor a new agrarian legend who passed– not unnoticed– at the end of July. The farming community has been mourning the passing of Trauger Groh, one of the founding members of the Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, one of the first two CSAs in the country and the oldest continuously operating CSA in the country. Read the beautiful obit written by Steven McFadden below.

With sorrow, I note the death this morning of my friend and
colleague Trauger Groh, 84, of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New
Hampshire, the oldest continuously operating CSA in the USA. Trauger is
survived by his wife, Alice, and their two children, Nicola and Theo. He is
also survived by the community farm, still thriving and poised to go forward
on the paths he helped to lay out over 30 years ago.

To honor Trauger (1932-2016) and his many contributions to the world at large
and in particular to farm communities around the world, I offer the following
appreciation. It’s something I wrote earlier this year for the Biodynamic
Association.  ~ Steven McFadden

Trauger Groh, Agrarian Adept

In the late 1980s I had the good fortune to meet Trauger Groh in New
Hampshire, and to engage wholeheartedly with him on the subject of farms and
the fundamental role they play in human existence. It took only an hour or two
for me to recognize that I was associating with an Agrarian Adept.

The word adept derives from Latin, adeptus, meaning one who has attained the
highest level of knowledge and skill in a field of endeavor. In olden times
the term was applied to accomplished alchemists, or in a general metaphysical
sense to an initiate who had mastered the Mysteries.

To me it seems altogether natural and fitting to attach adept as an epithet to
convey respect to both Trauger and his wife Alice Bennett Groh, and to his
longtime agrarian compatriots, Anthony Graham and Lincoln Geiger. Together
they helped initiate a profound form of healing for land, plants, animals and
people: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). This form will endure, I feel,
to benefit future generations…

THE REST:  http://bit.ly/2auKKIU  or
http://chiron-communications.com/r-i-p-trauger-groh-agrarian-adept/


the land for our food

posted June 11, 2016

The Land for our Food is a documentary movie produced by the Access to Land network and directed by Julio Molina. The video takes us on the journey of Gavin Bridger, a grower from the Community Supported Agriculture project of Farnham Local Food in England, through various European countries in his quest of accessing land for agroecological farming. The Farnham community food project is actually in search of land and Gavin discovers that this is by far an isolated problem! All over Europe the difficulty to find suitable and affordable land is posing a great barrier to the development of sustainable and often small-scale agriculture. His mentor, Rachel Harries from the Soil Association, links Gavin up to the Access to Land network and the journey is on its way.

This road-movie documentary gives us insights into the contexts and approaches of civil society initiatives from various countries in Europe regarding access to land: England, France, Spain, Italy and Romania. Gavin meets some of the initiatives from the Access to Land network, and also meets farmers and journalist George Monbiot to better understand the scope and historical roots of access to land issues. This documentary provides a very concrete introduction to access to land issues in Europe and captures a range of practical experiences in a unique way!



need more acres: great farm name, sweet video

posted May 3, 2016

Need More Acres farm owners Nathan and Michelle discuss the necessity of diversified vegetable farms and increasing food access. This is a beautiful and heart-felt little video about a family passionate about the work that they do: providing a multi-farm CSA to 35 families; organizing a community market to make more food available in their region; and engaging in the slow, sometimes tedious, but ultimately critical work of reforming our food system from the roots up.


abandoned orchard revival! a cooperative venture

posted October 16, 2014

Though this video is set in Germany, the same situations exist across North America. Learning how to care for these old trees is not only a valuable skill that will give these trees a new lease on life, but one that will allow you to harvest the results for many years to come.

Do you know of an old abandoned orchard/individual trees waiting to have their dignity restored? Do you want to find an old abandoned orchard to fix up? Do you want to learn how to restore an old apple tree? Do you know how to restore an old apple tree? Contact this gal.


seeking farmhand in austin, texas

posted May 25, 2013

downloadJob Opening – Tomato Packing Crew Position in Austin, TX

Johnson’s Backyard Garden is an organic CSA farm located in Austin, TX.  We grow over 30 different types of vegetables year round on 190 acres and sell them through our CSA, at all the Austin farmers markets and to local restaurants and grocery stores in Austin.  We are currently hiring for our tomato packing crew.  This is a seasonal position with full time hours.  We are hiring ASAP.  This position will last until the end of the tomato harvest which is typically at the beginning of August in Austin.  The hours vary but work usually starts early around daylight and 10-11 hour days are normal. The pay is $9.00/hour plus a weekly share of organic vegetables ($33.00 value) and bonus pay of $1.00 per total hours worked for those completing the full season. Duties include washing, sorting and packing tomatoes at our farm location 10 minutes outside of downtown Austin.  We are looking for fast-paced, detail-oriented hard-workers who can work in the heat and maintain a positive attitude.  Successful candidates must be dependable and have reliable transportation. Must be able to lift 50 lbs repeatedly and experience driving a forklift is preferred but not required.  If interested, please send your resume to sonya@jbgorganic.com.


smoke on the mountain

posted July 3, 2008

from Paula Somoza Manalo, Mendocino Organics CSA

The early morning of Saturday, June 22, a thunderstorm crashed through Northern California. My partner Adam and I were awakened by the shaking thunder and lightning right above us in Redwood Valley. My first thought was, “Great, we’ll get a little water!” The storm did not last long, but it’s damage was done. I hear we received only a tenth of an inch of rain, but it may have saved us from being enveloped by the Lightning Complex Fire in Mendocino County and many other counties in California. Over 35,000 acres of dry vegetation have burned so far, and the smoke around the county is still thick. Many are wondering how this will affect the grapes, already injured by the harsh frost in March.

I farm at Quetzal Farm in Santa Rosa during the weekdays, and every weekend, I visit Adam in Redwood Valley to help him with his animals and work on our upcoming winter vegetable CSA. This past weekend, the smoke hit my lungs hard when I stepped outside. We wore masks anytime we were outside working. Adam had gotten behind in some of his projects as the usual summer threat of wildfires had become quite urgent, so I was happy to help him with chores. Wildfires can spread up to 35 mph, and there were a couple fires not far from us.

All week, Adam weed wacked and dug fire lines around his house and garden, watered down the field where his sheep are corralled and his chickens are pasturing, and bought a spiffy backpack sprayer. I heard that the fairgrounds were taking in people’s animals in case they needed to evacuate. At our CSA farm site, we could see helicopters carrying buckets of water, some which probably came from our irrigation ponds. If a fire were to ambush our valley, I decided that I would evacuate all the dogs, but we would just have to hope for the best for the livestock – hope that smoke inhalation would be the worst that would happen to them.

South in Santa Rosa, all we really had to deal with was poor air quality for a couple days. I’m anxious that we are having wildfires earlier than usual and am disappointed that this past winter did not deliver as much rain as it has in the past. However, more than ever, Mendo residents are wanting local, organic/biodynamic produce which we are more than happy to provide for them. With food and gas prices continuing to rise, buying local high-quality vegetables and meat from small-time farmers like Adam and myself is a worthwhile investment. And we love growing the food – amidst natural disasters and all. Nature can nourish us with its rich soils, hearty animals and the bright sun, and its dynamic character creates an exciting challenge with beautiful rewards when it is on our side.

For now, I will continue learning as much as I can farming in Santa Rosa (and causing confusion as the “ambiguous gringa” – the sole Asian American working with “the Mexicans” and “the gringoes.”) Hopefully, I will be as prepared as I can be to co-manage the CSA in Redwood Valley this fall with whatever new challenges the heavenly Mendo land puts before us.