Farm Happenings at Against the Grain
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First Week of 2020 CSA Fall Extension

Posted on October 16th, 2020 by Holly Whitesides

Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the First week of the 2020 CSA Fall Extension!  Just like during the  regular season, 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 18th.  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.

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 "New Approaches in Community Supported Agriculture."

In our last post we spoke about a few different approaches to community supported agriculture (CSA): the subscription type, where customers pay a set fee in advance or in installments for the farmers to grow food for them, and then the traditional CSA, where the community receives a budget from the farmers for growing food for the next year and works to come up with the cash and non-cash needs contained in that budget.  When a community takes interest in its long term need for food, and therefore in its farmers, forms of community involvement in farming can take on interesting new shapes.  

Back in April, as the season was ramping up, ATG farm began a conversation with Eliza Spellman of the Agrarian Land Trust (check it out at  Eliza helped us understand some of the ways in which her organization might be able to assist ATG in its quest for long term viability as a Biodynamic farm, which means carrying ATG’s mission even beyond our lifetimes.  Note the difference in orientation: our current small family farm model, operated as an LLC, lives in the same world of corporations as Lowe’s Foods, Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and the entire population of food purveyors with a for-profit corporate structure--and ATG has indeed found its niche in that world and has been raising and marketing food successfully for going on 10 years.  But although we have been using the LLC structure to define ourselves to the government, we are better defined by the relationships we have with you, our supporters and friends, whose nutritional welfare we are deeply interested in.  That interest is reflected better in a more community-minded structure, such as the traditional CSA.  

In the coming winter months we will be asking our community what interest it has in the long term viability of our farm.  We are relieved that we can approach this question not from a crisis-driven need, but from the position of being a modestly successful small farm performing service for our community, and striving to do so even more effectively, carefully and successfully.  

One of the great innovations arising in the field of small farm stewardship comes from the legal profession. There is a tiny but growing number of lawyers specializing in helping small farms meet the legal requirements necessary to manifest their visions of land stewardship and farm resilience based on the specific needs and desires of the individual farm entity.  Where in the past farms had to squeeze into a patterned legal structure (such as the LLC), new strides are being made to make the legal structure conform to the needs and desires of the farm.  This development allows us to treat our farm as the Individuality it actually is, and to seek a legal definition based on its own reality and not on some other farm’s reality.  It allows us to ask “How does the farm wish to develop, and how will we manage that development?” and build a structure around that question.  

Another great innovation comes in the realm of economics, where we can manage relationships with those being fed from the farm on a cash-money basis, certainly, but also with other forms of exchange. We’ll talk further about that at a later time.  

One may wonder why we are so excited about finding new ways to interact with you, our farm community.  Well, we think that beyond the value of the food we grow to nourish body and soul, we are finding that our farm provides a place to find healing and health in a number of ways besides the channels of food nutrition.  In our herb gardens and bee stands and paddocks and fields and haygrounds we observe not only ourselves and our apprentices coming into enhanced health, but also the few volunteers who have been able to come to the farm seeking and finding to some degree the health which they encounter here.  Clearly, as Covid-19 related conditions cause us all to try to strengthen our health and resilience, we will need more than just good food.  We will need good, healthy human relationships and other opportunities to develop our soul- and spirit-selves in relationships built on caring for one another.  We can’t think of anything more wonderful!  

As always, we care what you think.  Please let us know your thoughts and concerns. 

With warm feelings for you as the days grow colder, the ATG Family