Thursday, July 2, 2009

CSA News for Whidbey Island Folks

The Community Supported Agriculture Training Center at Greenbank Farm is pleased to report that 60 community members have invested in Whidbey Island’s newest farmers and the island's largest CSA.

Harvest boxes for members are discussed each Monday by Anza Muenchow, CSA Program Coordinator, and the CSA students. On Mondays, decisions are made about what to harvest that week, when it will be picked and who will be on the harvest team. Priorities for each row are discussed and tasks delegated. The students also send out a weekly newsletter including recipes.

The work that the CSA students and Anza have accomplished in a few short months is absolutely incredible. They have built a hoop house and a wash station, set up the field for irrigation, laid the irrigation hoses and drip tapes, set up over-head sprinklers, hauled water when they had to, started hundreds of organic seedlings, planted, weeded, harvested, attended classes and worked at the Farmers Market. Then they show up on Mondays to start the cycle again.

The CSA Training Center at Greenbank Farm is rooted in a long tradition of farming begun by the Phillips family in the early 1900's. In the 1930s, the Philips switched from dairy farming to berry farming; by 1972 the Greenbank Berry Farm was known as the largest loganberry farm in the United States. Chateau Ste. Michelle purchased the property and in 1995 negotiated with the national non-profit Trust for Public Land to sell all 522 acres of the Greenbank Farm to Island County, the Port of Coupeville and The Nature Conservancy.

The CSA Training Center works closely today with the Greenbank Management Group and the Port of Coupeville on a daily basis. It's a place where everyone is on a first name basis. Most importantly, it's a place where everyone is working to make agriculture a way of life once again at Greenbank Farm, create new farmers, and increase agricultural acres in production on Whidbey Island.

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