The Back Story of our Multi-Farm CSA

From 2012 – 2019, Three Part Harmony Farm (3PH) organized a multi-farm CSA. That way, CSA members were able to get fruit, cheese, honey, rice, mushrooms, microgreens, flowers, herbal products, and eggs. We prioritized partnering with farms that are owned and operated by majority People of Color, women or gender non-conforming (or gender non-binary) folx with a goal of having the majority of the items come from Black owned farms.

Marie Tatti and Taylor picking up a share in 2018 (photo by Tyler Grigsby)

The CSA doubled in numbers and income during the 2017, 18, and 19 seasons. Despite the growth from a business stand point, the expense of running a farm in DC was too much for us and we decided to take some time over the winter of 2019 to  re-group and focus on what was going well for us.

The main issues facing our farm’s continued growth are inadequate infrastructure which is directly connected to the lack of progress on the part of the DC government to implement the 2014 Farm Bill. Accessing water, electricity, and affordable insurance policies is still a burden. Despite these higher expenses compared to our rural farming peers, there are no programs that incentivize food establishments based in the District to buy local. The food system is not working for small family owned farms, and it is working even less for this Black owned business based in DC.

In the 2020 season, we will change gears and focus on what what brings us joy: growing food for our people! The CSA program will be reduced in number of pick up spots to cut down on the amount of time we spend in vehicles. We will change the way customers order to make it more user-friendly and require less administrative management on our part.

GDR and G3 at the 2017 Three Part Harmony Farm fall festival (photo by Tyler Grigsby)

Still wondering what all of this means for you? This year we teamed up with Deep Roots Farm owner Gale (Ann) Livingstone to formalize the cooperative structure and implement a system with more shared leadership.

Excited to watch us grow? Stay tuned…

As always, at the end of the day it is you the community who keeps our farm afloat. We appreciate your patience this year.

Gail and Cristina