Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Review: Mountain Harvest Farm LLC (Community Supported Agriculture)

For the last three years, Jamie and I have been privileged to be able to be shareholders in a community supported agriculture (CSA) initiative with a couple of farmers who live near Morgantown. Their names are Mary and Chico and their CSA is called Mountain Harvest Farm, LLC.
I first discovered their CSA in winter 2013, when I saw a signup sheet posted in a local coffee shop, The Grind (which is a pretty fantastic place itself!). I sent an email to express interest to them and received a quick response, and began the process of investing in local agriculture.
Jamie and I have a small truck patch at the house, and we have been able to produce a decent amount of corn, beans, squash, and tomatoes from this little corner, but we had been reading and hearing a lot about community supported agriculture, and we regularly consider ways we can lower our footprint and invest in the local economy. Of course, we can always do better, but I think every one of us can benefit from taking even a small step. When we can, we strive to support local businesses, and buy food from local farmers markets. Investing in a CSA was yet another concrete step in the direction of investing locally. 
Mary and Chico, Mountain Harvest Farm's proprietors, have been renting and farming land just outside of Morgantown for a few years now. They offer their CSA members a weekly or biweekly share, and shareholders can choose between two convenient pickup locations. We chose the location across from Zen Clay Pottery Studio because it is in the middle of town and walkable from our house to pickup. The first week I went to pickup our share, I started chatting with Mary about what got her and Chico into this venture. She had been a Peace Corps worker in Honduras and that was where she had met her husband. 
Our conversation turned from local farming to international development, and she was a bit surprised at my knowledge of development. She asked what I did, and, thinking that I probably already knew just about everyone in Morgantown who knew about Nuru, I told her I worked for an international development organization. 
She asked, "Which one?" 
I responded, "Well, it's pretty new so you might not have heard of it but its called Nuru International." 
She looked at me with a grin and said, "I have a good friend who works for Nuru."
I was a bit shocked and asked "Who?" I thought I would have a really good handle on people in my part of the country who knew someone on staff. 
And then she told me that Matt Lineal, our Impact Programs Director (and previously Agriculture Strategic Advisor), had worked with her in the Peace Corps in Honduras. What a small world! And, it was the first time for me to have someone in Morgantown who knew about Nuru through a staff or board member who wasn't from West Virginia! When I told Matt about meeting Mary he was blown away by the connection, and excited that she and Chico had started the farm, and further, that Jamie and I were able to invest in this CSA with them. 
After that conversation and enjoying our first week of fresh produce from Mountain Harvest Farm, I was simply blown away by how much more our world is intimately connected than we realize. 
For the last three years--for 20 weeks a year, Jamie and I have made the short Wednesday evening walk to pick up our veggies, connect with Mary and Chico and their family, and get updates on how the weather is impacting how our crops are doing. They are wonderful people, and we are proud shareholders.
Recently, Jamie and I signed up for our fourth year as shareholders. And, if you are a Morgantown local, I wanted to encourage you to support these two West Virginia farmers by becoming shareholders too! You can sign up online by going to their website, and if you have more questions about their CSA shares you can ask them directly or just talk to Jamie or myself. You will love it!

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