(Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, April 21, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
Share the Bounty
Food insecurity in the United States is always a problem. In these uncertain times, food insecurity has moved front and center as a primary issue that needs to be addressed immediately. There has been a call to action for farmers to prioritize the need for food donations as they start their season. As we begin planting it is with full knowledge that we need to maximize production so that those facing food insecurity can benefit from the fresh fruits and vegetables we grow.
From the first stages of planning for Rushton Farm, we understood that as a community farm we had an obligation to make sure a significant portion of what we grew went to those in need. The Share the Bounty program was established to work with local food banks to see how Rushton Farm could best meet the needs of our local community. Between 12% and 15% of what is grown at Rushton goes to area food banks including the West Chester Food Cupboard and the Chester County Food Bank. That amounts to 3,500 to 4,000 pounds of food a year. Since Rushton Farm began, over 35,000 pounds of fresh produce has been donated.
Through this season, Rushton Farm is significantly expanding the Share the Bounty program. Our goal is to donate over 5,000 pounds of produce to those facing food insecurity issues. Our donation garden, Henry’s Garden is expanding. We are sharing plants with area gardeners with the intent that the food they grow is donated. We will be collaborating with area farmers on how, as a community, we can best utilize our efforts. We will be working with area organizations to find support for donation programs. As this crisis continues, Rushton Farm will continue to reach out to those in need and use our tremendous resources to feed our community.
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right
During uncertain times, it is so important to keep positive. This is especially true in farming where long hours and heavy labor can wear on those in the field. I have been so proud of the energy and exuberance that Molly, Noah, and Eliza have brought to the fields at Rushton. We have been shorthanded all season, but the effort put out by the Rushton Farm Staff has been nothing short of incredible. Molly’s constant smile, Noah’s wit, and wisdom and Eliza’s cheerful nature (while keeping 20 feet of social distancing) have helped the farm thrive. My own physical and mental health has benefited greatly by these amazing people. I have not felt this good about a season in years.
With that said, the real work starts this week and while I am going to be spending time in the field, I may have lost a step or two in my aged body. This week Caitlin Welsh returns to the Rushton Farm Staff to pick up my slack, and she is a welcome sight. Always upbeat and full of energy, Caitlin brings another ray of sunshine to the fields of Rushton. Caitlin is a triple threat being an accomplished birder, an educator and she knows her way around a farm. She will be a great addition as we start planting broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and six thousand onions this week. I am excited to start work in the field with such a talented staff (excited for the comradery, not so much the labor).
The Rushton Farm Staff is looking forward to the end of May when we can see our loyal community members and share our joy in a new season. Stay well.