The Binnewater Farm Project –Rosendale’s First CSA has Launched!
by Mimi Quinn
With a huge effort from its core members and a multitude of volunteers, the Binnewater Farm Project (BFP) will be the first-ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the Town of Rosendale. The CSA will be operating on property they’ve leased from Legacy Farm Cohousing (LFC)—a nine-owner cooperative located off Binnewater Road in Rosendale.
|Dan Guenther with CSA volunteers.|
BFP President Dimitri Galitzine said, “We’re thrilled that Legacy Farm is able to contribute to the creation of this CSA, as sustainability is a keystone of our vision for the cohousing community.”
So how did this all start?
Galitzine said, “We asked Dan Guenther, who had helped to develop a number of CSAs locally, to speak to our group, and we developed the idea of reaching out to folks not involved in developing cohousing to get the project moving. There was strong interest in the local community; the project has really taken off.”
According to Galitzine, the lease is for 10 acres of property (not all of it usable for farming) for one dollar per year. He stated that LFC plans to cluster their development on approximately six acres of the total 56 acres and will leave the remaining land open and undeveloped. The CSA will provide local sustainable food for both LFC and the surrounding community.
A press release dated October 18 stated: “Support for BFP has come in many forms. The group obtained a loan to cover start-up costs from a generous individual who prefers to remain anonymous; all interest from the loan will be paid out in donations of produce to the Rosendale Food Pantry.”
The release also noted that additional support has come from the Bruderhof Community, who plowed the fields in preparation for cover crop cultivation; and from the Students for Sustainable Agriculture at SUNY New Paltz, who participated in farm “work days” by gathering cedar trees to serve as fence posts and helping to spread manure to improve the soil.
In basic terms, a CSA is comprised of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation with the growers, with consumers providing mutual support as well as sharing the benefits of food production. Typically, members or “shareholders” of the CSA pledge to cover anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season.
After putting a “shout-out” for an experienced CSA farmer, Kristen MacDonald was hired. She is relocating from Massachusetts.
“Kristen brings seven years of CSA experience in the Northeast and is very excited about starting up this farm from the ground up,” Galitzine said.
MacDonald said that she looks forward to meeting the community and seeing the farm develop.
“I was really impressed when I learned about the Binnewater Farm Project. To me this project is inspiring and exciting, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to get to be a part of this CSA,” she said.
|Getting ready for garlic planting.|
The official launch of the BFP took place on Saturday, October 29, when the SUNY New Paltz Students for Sustainable Agriculture gathered with BFP volunteers to plant the farm’s first crop—garlic—which will be harvested next year and distributed to CSA members as part of their weekly farm share.
The inauguration was also the start of the promotion for CSA membership for the 2012 growing season. Each share will cost $800 and provide fresh vegetables sufficient for a family of four over the course of a five-month distribution period, which breaks down to about $30 per week.
At this point membership is enthusiastically encouraged and there are many phone numbers and emails on the CSA site for prospective members to contact to join the CSA or volunteer, stated Galitzine.
CSA member Emma Kreyche said, “This is really a team effort. There are so many people who have helped out that are not even part of the core group. My friend Mark is hosting our website on his server; our friend Dave lent us his tiller to till the garlic beds; a student from New Paltz is designing a logo for us…it’s really been amazing the way people have rallied behind this project.”
BFP is also seeking volunteers to help install a new fence, set up a greenhouse, repair the barns, and help with both farming and administrative tasks.
To sign up for the CSA, volunteer, or to find out about meeting times and locations please visit binnewaterfarm.org.