Sunday, March 1, 2009

Matt and I have just returned from the MOSES Organic Conference in La Crosse, WI. Though we spent much of our time at the conference volunteering at the copy machine and running errands, we also had time to take in workshops and speakers... Participating in this event with so many other organic, sustainable farmers felt like a validation of why it is that we farm organically and why we farm at all for that matter. Dr. Greene gave a presentation about "Why Farmers are my Heroes" that really pointed to the health effects of our widespread pesticide use in this country. It is a common myth that organic food is for the wealthy because it is so expensive, but Dr. Greene reminded me to think of the many costs associated with conventional food that we don't often account for. Childhood diabetes has increased five-fold in the last few decades...(much of this increase is linked to childhood obesity and diets that lack in adequate nutrition). The average child diagnosed with diabetes will pay three million in healthcare costs in their lifetime (which is now reduced by one to two decades from their life expectancy). That starts to make conventional food pretty expensive. Organic food has been proven to be more nutritionally rich. Shouldn't it be worth more? And as I heard one farmer say recently, if we subsidized organic farmers on the level that we subsidize large-scale crop/commodity farmers, maybe we could bring the price down to a level that everyone can afford. After we heard Dr. Greene tell the story about his wife's struggle with breast cancer that is almost certainly a result of her childhood growing up next to a grape farm where they sprayed pesticides right next to her bedroom window, and he brought up the point that many people say organic food is too expensive...I heard the woman behind me mutter "try cancer."

Beyond the affirmations, we came away with new ideas for creating our own compost, year-round greenhouse production, cover-cropping know-how, another Cobra hand-hoe, some organic fish fertilizer, and many more connections to the farming community. It is sunny and 10 degrees today, but I am positively squirming in my overalls to get outside and plant.

About the Farm

This year we will offer 50 shares (weekly or bi-weekly). Beginning in mid-June, you pick up your share at a pre-arranged drop point. We have drop-sites in St. Paul near Hamline, Northeast Minneapolis (off of Stinson), Uptown (28th and Lyndale), Shoreview, South Minneapolis (near Xerxes and 50th), and Edina (off of Tracy Ave). We also have sites in Glenwood City and Baldwin, Wisconsin.
Weekly shares begin with salad greens, radishes, green onions and early root vegetables and max-out in late summer with the heavy additions of potatoes, melons and sweet corn. We deliver in grocery-sized reusable bags with an eye towards nice presentation. Some weeks there are cut flowers and other extras. There will be a planting day in early June and a harvest and cider pressing party in mid-September.
We believe in organic farming practices and use no chemical pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides…because vegetables are supposed to be good for you! Available as a separate add-on to your share is our maple syrup. Meat shares are offered to members on occasion and a one-time storage share may be offered near Thanksgiving… we will announce this mid-summer.
A 2008 member commented, “Best money I’ve ever spent!”
Our full share (18 weeks of vegetables) will be $500 this year. A bi-weekly share (9 weeks) will be $270. To sign-up please email Erin at altem002(at)