The 2021 CSA is going retro! The google form is back and so is the Three Part Harmony Farm solo show – it’s back to the basics with (mostly) a standard share supporting our farm in Washington, DC.
This year marks the 10th CSA season for me after striking out on my own. In 2010 I worked my last season at Clagett Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD and spent most of 2011 scouting land and writing a business plan in order to start a farm in DC.
In 2012 I accidentally fell into the seedling business when I still hadn’t found land but had invested my savings into building a greenhouse in my backyard. Generosity, grace, and serendipity turned me into a backyard gardener on the path towards a large-ish land lease. The first, biggest and by far the best backyard was at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House on Rock Creek Church Rd in northwest DC, across the street from the Old Soldier’s Home. If you were a member in the 2012 CSA, most of your vegetables came from that prolific garden.
We’ve got some really big changes coming down the pipeline for this year, so the CSA will be quite different again. I’ll need it to be simpler in order to focus on the two very huge projects I’ll be working on in 2021: 1. solar panels (fully funded by the community: thank you!!!) and 2. rural land purchase (for expanded crop list in the 2022 season.)
This year’s CSA will begin the first full week in May and end the first full week in November. Like always, we will skip the week of July 4.
WHAT TO EXPECT
I’ve begun allowing returning CSA members from 2020 and 2019 to sign up using this google form (that’s part of the retro look.)
The season is divided between: spring 8 wks (May and June), summer 8 wks (July and August), fall 10 wks (Sept – first week of Nov). The Saturday pick up will allow for some customization as well as skip weeks. ***All skipped shares must be picked up on the bonus week which is Saturday, November 20th. You MUST FILL OUT THE FORM each week before 10 pm on Wednesday in order to have your preferences recorded, including the skip option.***
MID WEEK (AKA PTW and BKLD members) I am currently letting the mid-week CSA members VOTE on whether or not you would like to sign up for a traditional, boxed, farmers’ choice one size fits all CSA. Both hosts have agreed to allow us to drop off at their porches again if there is interests. You may opt instead to move to the Saturday pick up for customization, or skip this year and join again in 2022. Use the same form to cast your vote. If you choose to move to Saturday, then your option is right there in the same form!
LOTS OF NEW STUFF
– The Saturday location is changing again (sorry!) to be at the Annie’s Ace Hardware in Brookland, from 9 – 1.
– I will merge the single and family size to be one size fits all, with an ave of 8 – 9 items for $30/ wk. – Members can make a donation by adding on to their check or donating online and I will create a form for people to apply for free or reduced shares (a pay what you can option) depending on donations.
THIS YEAR I WILL:
– divide up the year into three seasons (spring, summer, fall) and let people sign up for one at a time
– give return CSA members a chance to sign up first, with a deadline of February 28 before I open sign ups to the public
– bring back the pay by check discount if your payment is mailed by April 15 and sign up for the entire year (you can split into three payments)
– bring back the skip option for when you are out of town but YOU STILL HAVE TO FILL OUT THE FORM so that we don’t pack your share otherwise you won’t get it back later
– keep fruit and flowers as options in your share
– use a simple google form each week to allow you to make some changes for a semi-customizable share
I WILL NOT:
– source vegetables from other farmers
– offer single size shares
– staff any pick ups other than the Saturday morning one at Annie’s Ace
– offer any add-ons such as eggs, mushrooms, grains, or cheese
– have my feelings hurt or penalize anyone for skipping this year.
When we do 2022 sign ups I’ll include all 2020 members as “returning CSA members” for the purposes of having early sign up and discounts.
What will be available this year?
Definitely: Apples, asian pears, beans (green and dragon lingerie), beets, bok choi, collard greens, cucumbers, flowers, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, okra, pea shoots, peaches, potatoes, salad radishes, scallions, storage radishes (fall only), swiss chard, tat soi, turnips, yellow squash, yokatta na, zucchini.
Probably: arugula, spicy mix, spinach, seedlings, sweet potato greens, fresh herbs
Maybe: sweet potatoes, butternut squash
What do I do when I’m out of town or can’t make the pick up?
Saturday Brookland members make a notation in the weekly form by 10 pm on Wednesday if you will skip the following Saturday. Skipped shares will be picked up on the bonus week: Nov 20.
Do you offer partial payments?
Yes. If you sign up for the full season and pay by check, you can split the fee into three separate checks. I must receive all three checks at the same time. Date the checks: April 15, July 6, and August 31.
Can CSA members volunteer at the farm? Probably. In previous years before the coronavirus pandemic we used to allow CSA members to come on certain Saturdays to help with big projects like moving compost, mulching, and weeding. I hope we can start that again in 2021!
What’s this land purchase situation and how can we support? For a few years now, the Black Dirt Farm Collective has been planning and visioning land that we own together that, among other things will serve as a land base for our political education work which is most known for happening during Afroecology Encounters. Together with Earthbound Building, we anticipate making that dream a reality very soon in Maryland. I’ll be part of this incredible project and will be involved in the farming piece primarily. I see it an extension of the urban farming that I have been doing since 2012. The rural space allows us to grow more crops, get back into seedkeeping, become stewards the land and practice “agroforestry” (that just means taking care of the non-cleared areas the way the original indigenous folx did), and perhaps most importantly have the space and resources to help train aspiring farmers. Buying land is only the first step! Paying off the mortgage ASAP and investing in infrastructure starts on Day 1. Join us on this incredible journey. Read more at the Earthbound website.