Farm Happenings at Against the Grain
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Nineteenth Week of the 2020 CSA

Posted on October 2nd, 2020 by Holly Whitesides

Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the Nineteenth week of the CSA!  Just like past weeks, the customization period begins once this notification lands in your inbox (which should be around noon on Friday) and will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, October 4th.  Just as a reminder, if you'd like to change pick up locations for the share that is currently open for customization, please email Harvie support to request that change.  Always feel free to double check with Holly to make sure the change was made.  It is so important to the farm that CSA members have flexibility in their pick up location.

We still have a few spots in our four week extension to the regular CSA shares, with pick up locations at the farm and the High Country Food Hub only.  Share availability will only be 35 shares, so sign ups will be available until sold out!  Sign up through the Harvie platform.

Our reservations for Thanksgiving Turkeys are ongoing, but always sell out early!  Our birds are raised to high welfare standards, with GMO-free verified feed, as well as continuous access to fresh pasture, water and sunshine.  Reserve one with a $25 deposit on our website:

This week's newsletter contribution comes to you from M Mueller and is entitled "Growths in the Margins of the Farm."

The fall harvest is still in full swing, but beginning to wane. Today as I write, volunteers are arriving to strip sorghum. We’re eyeing the sweet potatoes and weighing potential frost strikes (to harvest after a light frost, but before the first heavy frost). Tomato vines are coming down with their last fruits still clinging to the vine. We have entered the Fall “shoulder season”, a transition time after the harvest of the hot weather crops, when we put some of our beds to sleep and keep harvesting the last of the hardy vegetables into the winter. It is a time on the margins of the seasons.  

In the same way that this is a marginal time, we also are working on other margins, marginal spaces. For example, one of our most dedicated volunteers, Paula Johansen, has initiated a windrow project, an ambitious and far-sighted plan to plant windrows along the sides of fields to provide a complex permaculture-like living system in order to bring soil development via plant roots--and insect life via pollinator-friendly plants--to the very feet of our crops.  Another margin project is building a livestock exclusion zone for the creek on the Silverstone parcel, so that a buffer zone may develop to protect that valuable tiny creek at its headwaters, so when it leaves the farm it is clean for its downstream run.  This we have already done for the little spring creek that originates on the home farm—it is now well hidden in its protective growth of riparian plants, inaccessible to routine livestock traffic.  

Among the many other marginal developments, it so happens that I and my wife, Georgie Donovan, have taken stewardship of a half acre of land and a house on the physical margin of the home farm. We call the structure Grange Hall, or the Grange. (The photo above is a view of the farm from the side door of the Grange).  We chose that name for a few good reasons: it represents an outlier to the farm, and pays homage to the Grange Movement, which was founded in 1867 to unite farmers and farms.  But for me especially the connotations are very warm: as a square dance musician once upon a time, I felt it was the Grange halls in various small and rural communities which welcomed me most warmly with their adequate stages, community kitchens and easy dance floors. vThe purpose of the Grange at ATG will be similar. Already it is providing high speed internet access for the apprentices, hosting small farm meetings, and serving as Georgie’s office (she works in fundraising and communications for the Biodynamic Association of America).  There is a community room in the Hall for activities such as Yoga, quilt making, farm meetings, healing and health activities for farm workers and musical soirees; it’s a place to gather for learning opportunities and, yes, even to hold a small square dance!  

This winter the farm will be thinking about how to include old friends and CSA members and associates of all kinds more closely in community. We will be asking “How can the farm spread its margins even wider, to include more people in the process of providing the best nutrition to our community and support for those who do the hard work?” We hope that when we are ready to share next steps, you will consider how you might collaborate with us, to assure that our farming remains safe and unencumbered far into the future, for the food security of ourselves and generations to come.  

We hope you enjoy the bounty of today’s harvest!

Much love and happy eating,

Holly, Andy and Crew at ATG