Newsletter No. 1

Welcome to Vibrant Valley Farm’s 2015 Community Supported Agriculture program! It’s so nice to know that many of you have returned, told friends and most importantly have decided to trust us as your farmers. After months of planning, sowing, transplanting, prepping, weeding, thinning and everything in between we are so proud and excited to share the first of the season’s bounty with you.

For those of you who don’t know who we are, we are, among other things, two landless city kids who decided to practice environmental stewardship and education through farming. We have been trained on both urban and rural farms and gardens in Argentina, Europe, California and Oregon. We met in 2002 in the University of Oregon dorms and after years of friendship and dream weaving we created Vibrant Valley Farm. This year is the farm’s third season and the third season that we have plowed and planted into a field that we have never farmed before. It’s crazy! And we couldn’t have done it without you and your support, or without the help this year's most welcome additions to Vibrant Valley Farm: new employees Mary Ellen and Christina.

After two wonderful years in Yamhill County we wanted to be closer to our families, friends, customers and educational partners so we found our new home on Sauvie Island, also known as Sauvie’s Island, Wapato Island, Wappatoo Island and Sauvie’s. (See below to cast your vote) The farm sits at the confluence of two powerful rivers on amazingly rich soil where birds like herons and egrets fly overhead. The land we are farming was one of Sauvie Island’s oldest, if not the oldest, u-pick pumpkin patches run by an Italian family. Our plot, where we are currently leasing four acres, was most recently in pasture and is rapidly filling with vegetables and flowers as we write this. We invite you to come visit us and you have no excuse this year … we’re only 15 miles from downtown Portland.  

Last year we reported the common story that the CSA model is based on an idea from the 1960’s in Japan where families would enter into a teikei or partnership. Teikei means “putting the farmers’ face on food” and embraces the producer-consumer partnership. There are ten principles, which include tenets like mutual assistance, deepening friendships, and learning among each group. We’d like to add something to the history of CSA’s we have since learned and which is often overlooked. Dr. Whatley an African American farmer from Alabama popularized the idea of gathering members from the city who would help the farmer plan production and have a guaranteed market what he called Clientele Membership Clubs also as early as 1960. Whatley believed “the clientele membership is the lifeblood of the farm.”  [Mother Earth News]  

We say this a lot at Vibrant Valley Farm but seriously, undoubtedly and wholeheartedly none of this would be possible without you. As we grow and harvest we will be continuously grateful for your support and hope to deepen friendships and learn from each other.  

 

Thank you,

Elaine and Kara

in this week’s box:

  • Silky Salad Mix
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Hakurei Turnips with greens
  • Snap peas
  • Green garlic