We Bought The Farm!
Today is a big day for our family -- we bought land! This is a huge milestone for us, and our friends, family, CSA members and even the government have our thanks. More detail is below, but we really want to point out the value and direct impact of CSA programs.
CSA dollars go directly to preserving or creating agricultural land and give consumers a clear vote in how they want their food produced. Quite literally, without our CSA program, we wouldn't have financing to buy this land -- it's as simple as that. As you'll see below, we have many people to thank, but we encourage everyone to eat locally and vote with your dollars so that our soil, water, air and food are left better than we found them!
Land security is probably the #1 challenge beginning farmers face and we are so excited to have the opportunity to steward this beautiful piece of ground. Our dream is the product of many hours and dollars, not to mention blood, sweat and tears from us, our friends and our family. We simply would not be in this position if not for the constant support of all those who love us. We are truly humbled by your care!
Access to land is key to a successful farming business, yet most young people don't have the connections or money to secure it. In our case, the former owners of this ground steadfastly refused to split this land up and their stubbornness has paid off for us and them. Their family homesteaded this land and our purchase will be the first change of ownership since "ownership" was granted in the 1870s. They have always wanted this land to stay together as farm ground and we are proud to carry on that vision of permanent agricultural spaces.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the two brothers, Bob & Bill, that held this land together. Their willingness to trust and support a couple of kid vegetable farmers is the basis for our ownership today.
Financing a land deal is no small task for a small farm business like ours, and we were able to secure financing because of federal support through the UDSA's Farm Service Agency. While applying for and receiving these loans, we have come to feel that these programs and agencies truly do support rural communities. We have seen red tape, clutter and paperwork, but we have also seen federal loan agents and employees dedicated to sustaining rural communities and agriculture.
"Farming" means many things to many people, and we certainly would make different decisions about how some federal dollars get spent in name of agriculture, but we feel that by and large, the people who shepherd these dollars to farmers truly do care about the land and the people that make their livings upon it.
Finally, and perhaps most notably, is the direct impact that CSA members have on their food and the environment. People join CSAs for a wide variety of reasons, but regardless of your motivation, supporting farmers via CSAs bolsters sustainable land stewardship. Quite simply: without our CSA program, the USDA never would have financed this purchase. Revenue from farmers' markets alone just isn't consistent enough for most land purchases, so CSA was the lynch pin to this whole deal.
Along with many of our CSA members, we feel strongly about decreasing the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. Through this purchase, we now have a mandate to produce more food on more land with less detriment to the soil that we all need to survive. This is possible because of the support of our CSA members -- thank you!
So remember, when you buy that share up front every spring; when you pick up your produce or meat each week; when you find another new recipe for kale, summer squash or cabbage, you are voting for clean food, clear water and healthy soils. The community benefits may not be so obvious at first, but CSA programs truly are an effective way to vote with your dollars.
Thank you so much!
Alex & Chloe