Sustainable and Efficient Practices on a CSA Farm

| 6/27/2013 4:31:00 PM

Tags: CSA, community supported agriculture, Crystal Stevens,

market trailersMy husband, Eric Stevens is the Executive Farmer and Resident Artist at La Vista CSA Farm on the scenic bluffs of the mighty Mississippi in Godfrey, IL. I am the Assistant Farmer, Greenhouse manager, Web Content manager, and the Newsletter Writer. This is our 4th season as the farmers at La Vista. Eleven years ago, the farm was founded by Maurice Lange. Maurice brought his vision to life at La Vista, which was modeled after Genesis Farm. La Vista has acted as a small business incubator in that the first farmer branched off with her husband and started their own farm, Three Rivers Community Farm and the second farmers at La Vista went on to start their own farm, Riverbend Roots. We all get together regularly for farmer potlucks and farm Pictionary. We also trade sustainable farming secrets and frustrations. We uplift and empower each other to make it through each season. Managing and maintaining a 6 acre CSA Farm with 2 full time and 3 part time employees is a challenge, especially with over 250 members. We grow over 65 varieties of vegetables and several types of fruits. Most of our days are spent on harvesting shares. Because we grow without pesticides or herbicides, we rely on efficient and practical ways of doing things.

Below are some examples of how to improve efficiency on a CSA Farm.

1. La Vista CSA Farms is run by a Core Group of volunteers, who each bring a plethora of skill and insight to the farm. The Core Group handles everything from infrastructure, to finances, marketing, publicity, and intake. The farm could not be as successful without the dedicated

2. La Vista offers a Pick-Your-Own section at the farm for crops that are tedious to pick such as peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, berries, herbs and flowers. This allows us more time to focus on more immediate farming tasks.

3. We have a pull behind delivery Produce Trailer built by Tom and Lee, Core Group Members. The Trailer has boards which pop down and display the produce bins. This makes deliveries easy, fun and interactive for members.

lettuce trays

4. We plant primarily with the water wheel transplanter, a brilliant implement we bought from Morgan County Seeds out of Barnett, Mo. Click here for details. One person drives the tractor while two people sit and plant. The waterwheel transplanting saves time and hours of backbreaking labor.

6/30/2013 8:30:54 AM

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