Saturday, 29 March 2008

Hooray for the CSA! - Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote with some excitement about having connected with a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm.

Yesterday Gord and I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Sparrow's Nest Organic Farm from whom we have purchased a share in this year's harvest. We met the owners and stewards of Sparrow's Nest Organics, Graham and Allison, whose enthusiasm and dedication to living a sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle was evident right away!

We were welcomed warmly and invited to look around the 70 acre farm, eventually joining Allison and Graham back at the greenhouses. As you can see from the picture, it's still very early Spring here in northern-ish Alberta, but in about six more weeks the huge drip-irrigated fields you see behind the tractor will be seeded with all sorts of delicious vegetables!

We are one of about 40 shareholders in this year's harvest -- ours is a 'working share' where we are are welcome to work two 8-hour days on the farm in exchange for a partial refund of the share price. We plan on meeting, if not exceeding, this commitment and we will undoutedly learn so many things about gardening in a way that enriches the soil rather than depleting it. I'm confident we will be enriched by the experience as well!

Back at the greenhouses we were greeted by the happy sight of onion and leek seedlings poking out of an array of seed trays. One of the regular shareholders and friends of the farm was already there, carefully weeding the seed trays in the balmy environs of the first greenhouse. It was a treat to inhale the fecund aroma, and warm up a little on the chilly Spring day. My camera fogged up, but I managed to get one fuzzy picture of the little seedlings before my camera battery gave out. If you look closely, you can see the green haze of the seedlings poking out of the soil.

In the second greenhouse, Allison was transplanting heirloom tomato seedlings and Graham was installing an energy-efficient furnace. We spent an enjoyable and informative half hour asking questions and talking about things like the joys of eating locally, future plans for the farm, and the challenges of living sustainably, especially in a province where the top priorities are oil and cattle. As our conversation drew to a close, I noticed some flags fluttering outside the greenhouse, and Graham confirmed these were indeed Tibetan prayer flags, placed there last summer by another friend of the farm.

There is no more hopeful sight than a seedling poking up through the soil, toward the sun. We left Sparrow's Nest Farm feeling similarly hopeful and inspired, knowing that people, like seeds, also break out of their shell, look upwards and outwards, and face the world with awe, humility, optimism and determination to grow wherever they are planted.


Hippie Girl said...

That is great you found a local CSA - I'm hoping to find one here in our city this year!

Theresa said...

There aren't that many around here, so we are very lucky! We will be heading out there again to help with planting, so I will make sure my camera batteries are fully charged this time...