By Hannah Moser of Forager Farm
Creating a community of food lovers has always been at the top of our to-do list. A community that is centered on food but goes beyond just the consumption, one that supports sustainable practices in not just farming, but day-to-day living.
Our first year of operation hasn’t allowed for much community building. In fact, it hasn’t allowed for much beyond just surviving. We realized quickly we bit off more than we could chew and decided we needed to focus on our priorities as a first-year vegetable CSA.
However, within the CSA model, and in particular how we chose to set-up Forager Farm, community is at the heart of it. Our process of pick-ups meant we met with our members on a weekly basis, face-to-face, to deliver their boxes of fresh vegetables.
Right off the bat your members are your community. One specific drop-off location was during a farmer’s market we chose to join. This allowed us to not only meet that location’s members weekly, but to meet new people interested in supporting local, sustainable food.
Participating in this farmer’s market also allowed us to meet other growers and producers. There are many elements in a sustainable food diet and going forward we’d like to collaborate with other farmers to provide the full-spectrum to our members, as well as bouncing ideas off one another or helping each other out in times of need, no matter if they’re competition in the market. And I use the term competition loosely, as I have come to believe as growers and producers we should stand together in local food, not fight to be the best.
Another avenue of community was through our intern, Kayla, who was found through and supported by the FARRMS Intern Program. Roughly seven farms partook in the program, which provided a new opportunity to meet other farmers in We have always understood the importance of community in local food. In fact, before we even started Forager Farm we met with another local CSA farm and learned all that could absorb from them. At this beginning stage of our farm, we probably have more experience being on the receiving side of community building than we do as community builders.
At the end of the season we decided our current rental situation was no longer the best fit for us and have decided to move our farm to Jonathon’s family farm, not far from our original location. But to do so we needed a place to live. Since September we’ve been working a small home to put down new roots for Forager Farm.
Earlier in the season one of our members decided to step up from simply being a consumer and helped out at the farm from planting to weeding and everything in between. When we told him we were moving and needed to build a home, he didn’t hesitate to offer his help. What began as one helpful, interested member has evolved into a group of four guys willing to drop almost anything to help us continue our dream of Forager Farm.
Our house isn’t quite finished, but we’d be nowhere near this point if it wasn’t for the help we’ve received from our community, a community that’s not just about sustainable food, but a sustainable community where we can count on one another for support, encouragement, and laughter.