Geraldson Community Farm – at the Buzz and an Open House

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing

The 6th Annual Sustany® Buzz is happening on November 7, 2013. Get your tickets now!

In celebration of this bigger-than-ever event, we are proud to profile some of our vendors. Their practices show the many ways there are to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable world right now.

This week we highlight Geraldson Community Farm. This Bradenton-based farm was founded in 2007 as a community-supported agriculture (CSA) operation. Today it has 200 members. The farm also provides vegetables to many markets, buying clubs, co-ops and restaurants in Tampa Bay.

The Geraldson Community Farm is a CSA in Bradenton, FL.
The Geraldson Community Farm is a CSA in Bradenton, FL.

What is community-supported agriculture (CSA)?

Christa Leonard, the farm’s Outreach Coordinator, describes it as “a unique relationship of mutual support and commitment between a farm and community members for an entire growing season.” Here’s how it works:

  • CSA members buy a share of organic vegetables for the growing season, which runs from November through May. Members choose to receive a share weekly (full share) or bi-weekly (half share). A share consists of a variety of different vegetables that are fresh, healthy and safe.
  • The price of the share allows the farm to cover its operating costs. Members receive their share of vegetables throughout the season, grown and harvested by farmers they come to know and trust.
  • Members are also encouraged to connect with the land. They can volunteer and they can “pick their own” produce. The farm opens fields on pick-up days for members to harvest themselves.

The benefits of a CSA go way beyond the farm and its members

As a CSA, the Geraldson Community Farm:

  • shows members where, when and how their food is produced – something many people don’t know, but need to!
  • preserves the farm for sustainable agriculture into the future
  • offers a training facility for new farmers through an apprenticeship program
  • provides a learning environment for school groups and the community through tours, workshops and volunteer opportunities

How the Geraldson Community Farm operates sustainably

This could be the subject of a whole separate post, but just a few of the practices include:

  • crop rotation, cover cropping, composting and maintaining crop diversity
  • attracting beneficial insects that eat bugs considered “pests”
  • forgoing the use of herbicides to control weeds

The overarching priority is to manage the soil’s fertility to ensure healthy farm land for generations to come.

Sample Geraldson Community Farm produce at the Buzz!

The farm will provide:
In-season produce for the chefs and VIP bags – most likely eggplant, sungold tomatoes (which they are known for!), squash, and zucchini.
A month’s share for the Sustany® Buzz silent auction.

Why Geraldson Community Farm supports the Sustany® Foundation

Says Christa, “We have the same model of beliefs that by investing in your local community, you are bettering the world we live in. We are honored to be a part of this event!”

Don’t Miss the Geraldson Community Farm Open House on October 12!

Geraldson Community Farm is hosting an Open House on Oct. 12, 2013 from 11 am to 3 pm. It’s a chance to tour the farm and learn about the CSA. There will be live music and a potluck from 12 pm to 1 pm. Bring a chair and enjoy a beautiful day in the barn and fields! There will be:

*Farm Tours: Meet your farmers, tour the farm and learn about the upcoming growing season!

*Featured talks: Christa will cover “What is a CSA and why is it beneficial?” and also discuss the upcoming season. Our Foodie Friends of the Farm will present “How to make the best of your weekly CSA: Organization and menu planning for the veggie lover.” And you’ll enjoy a talk from our beekeeper Dave.

*Activities for the whole family including pictures with the tractor, planting, face painting, make your own flower and herb bouquet!

*Raffle: sign up for our raffle to win some goodies from our local vendors! (FREE!)

See the farm for yourself on Oct. 12, 2013!
See the farm for yourself on Oct. 12, 2013!

Hope to see you there! If you have questions, call Christa Leonard at 941-981-0111.