About nine months ago a seed was planted…and not what you are thinking. In this case, it was the plan for a new farm at the old Buckelew Farms land on Highway 86 just 20 miles west of Tucson. After months of planning, planting, and nourishing, they are proud to deliver and you will receive the first veggies from the new Common Ground Farm this week in your shares!
While they acquired and manage 30 acres, they have conservatively started with production in the first 5 acre field. For the first few years of their operations, we hope to support Common Ground Farm by incorporating 1 – 3 of their items into your weekly shares, depending on production and availability. We will continue to work with and support our long-time farms, both Crooked Sky and Sleeping Frog Farm, while also looking at supporting new efforts with an eye towards sustainability and diversity in your shares.
Here is a little more about Common Ground Farm that Sarah Brown and Dani Radacosky-Pentoney co-own and operate:
Our mission is to steward land and water resources responsibly, grow food for our communities, provide access to farmland for farmers, and teach the next generation how to grow food and fiber sustainably. We see Buckelew Farm as a unique resource and opportunity to develop food businesses in our region without beginning farmers and ranchers assuming the risk and financial burden of purchasing land outright at market rates. Our vision is to create a model for farming that lowers the barrier to entry for farmers, supports the long term viability and success of their operations, and promotes care for and regeneration of the land, as well as conservation of water resources. If our small farm collective is able to establish a foothold at Buckelew and sustain itself, we think it will serve as an example to others about how to start farming on leased public or private land with less than average upfront capital expenses. Our cooperative model also allows for a level of mutual support, shared responsibility, and flexibility that is not possible with traditional owner-operator and family farm models.
Tucson CSA was one of the first to show that shared responsibility with seed capital funds to help them get started. In mid-February, our Sara and Daniela from Tucson CSA joined their Sarah and Dani and dozens of others in a community-effort transplanting out at the new farm. We thoroughly enjoyed getting our hands (and knees, feet, butts, etc.) dirty while we got to know our new farmers and their friends.
Expect to find some new leafy greens coming your way – i.e. Dino Kale, Pac Choi, Collards – as well as different varieties of root vegetables, including kohlrabi! We continue to work with Common Ground Farm to help them plan out produce that does not duplicate (too much) what we get from other farms. As it heats up in Phoenix at Crooked Sky Farm and we move into a “shoulder season” for them, the timing could not be better to get fresh veggies from our new farmers.
If all goes well, we would love to invite CSA members to join us in the next transplanting work party that they may have out there in the fall at Common Ground Farm. Stay tuned and enjoy the new round of crops!