Why Community Shared Agriculture?

There are a great many reasons why we love community shared agriculture, but in some ways this picture sums it all up: this farm is a treasure we are delighted to share.

These latest members of our farm family — six beautiful piglets — were born on Sunday night. Each one is a joy and a miracle that our members (especially the youngest among them) will enjoy visiting during vegetable pick-ups. I only wish they had been born a couple days earlier, as I know that the folks who visited with their very pregnant mama this week-end would have loved to have met these little ones!

We feel incredibly privileged to live where we do and to connect so deeply with the earth and other living beings. The pleasure our members’ children take in visiting with puppies (two years ago), kittens (last year), and other barnyard neighbours reminds us that most city dwellers have very limited opportunity to participate first-hand in the cycles of life. We are honoured to be able to provide that opportunity.

Because we believe strongly in the community aspect of community shared agriculture, we have members coming to the farm twice a week during the growing season and monthly during the winter, with a bustling fall harvest celebration (and work bee) to mark the transition. (Of course, we also want to minimize fossil fuel use, so it’s not every member coming to each pick-up, just one member family from each of our two regions: Battlefords and Saskatoon.)

But members are not limited to experiencing the farm at those times. We would really like you to consider yourselves a part of this place and to feel free to visit anytime. We would be foolish to turn away the company of anyone wanting to weed garden or squish potato beetles, but we also invite those who would prefer to relax in the peace and quiet of our lakeside farm. If spending an afternoon on the beach, heading out in a canoe, or visiting with piglets is more up your alley, you are also more than welcome. We ask only that you give us a head’s up about when you plan to arrive.

There are, of course, many other reasons why we practise community shared agriculture. Judy and I love to garden. We do not love to market. So this model, which allows us to do all our marketing at once and then get on with the pleasure of growing vegetables works well for us.

It is also comforting to know that if, in spite of our best efforts, we have a terrible year, all is not lost. We really do appreciate our  current members’ patience with the results of last spring’s drought. Your potato bags are still bulging this month, but our supply of other veggies is dwindling. We have sent what carrots we had available (with some reserved in the cellar for next month) and a few more beets than you’ve had the last few months, along with the last of the sunflower tubers/Jerusalem artichokes. To top things up a bit, we’ve also sent each of you a couple cups of great northern beans. If you’re not familiar with beans, check out the cooking tips and recipes on the dried beans page of this blog.

We take our commitment to our members very seriously, and work hard to compensate for any crop failures. Still, it is helpful to know that you have bought a share in the farm, with all the ups and downs a growing season will inevitably include, and that you will share in these ups and downs with us.

Really, it all comes down to relationship. It is immensely rewarding to see the delight members take in our farm and our veggies, and, if a different but equally powerful way, to have them able to let us know when something is not working well. We are partners in our efforts to eat well and to respect the many gifts of the earth. And for this we are most grateful.

P.S. It is the season for that dreaded marketing, and we are still seeking a few new members for both the Battlefords and Saskatoon/Warman groups. Full details can be found on the community shared agriculture page of this blog.

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