What are we going to eat? Most of us ask ourselves this question multiple times a day. As a husband and father of two young children, I make this decision (sometimes with too much scrutiny) for four of us. While it seems, in theory, like this should be a fairly straight-forward process, the state of food and agriculture in our world means these choices have far-reaching implications for both the health of our families and the health of our natural world. While the costs of growing healthy, organic produce continues to rise, Cedar Circle Farm is always striving to ensure that our produce and our programs are accessible to all of you who choose the healthy option when you ask that common question of “what am I going to eat?”. While we know making the healthy and organic choice can be more expensive upfront, we are always thinking about ways that we can make the food we grow and our educational programs accessible to our whole community.
One of the ways that we work to bring organic food to our community is through our partnership with Willing Hands, the single most valuable food rescue and redistribution organization in the Upper Valley (in my humble opinion). Willing Hands works with local farms to glean produce from fields in order to stock the shelves of food banks and soup kitchens. In addition to providing fields for weekly gleaning, Cedar Circle Farm has a 1-acre plot behind our blueberry patch where a dedicated farm employee collaborates with a Willing Hands volunteer organizer and many volunteers to grow and distribute over 16,000 lbs of food annually to families in need. This summer, when you come pick blueberries, be sure to stop by to see what’s growing in our Willing Hands garden!
In our farmstand and at farmers’ markets, we strive to keep our produce prices reasonable. You can often find Cedar Circle Farm veggies frozen in our reach-in freezers, which is one of the ways we strive to keep our produce available for as much of the year as possible. We’re hoping to do more of this in the coming season. Lightly processing veggies (freezing or Lacto-fermenting, for instance) is a great way for us to be able to provide reasonably priced, local and organic food all year.
We are also very proud of our partnership with NOFA-VT and their Farm Share Program, which provides financial support to folks interested in a CSA share. Each season, several Upper Valley families benefit from this program, receiving a subsidized CSA share from our farm. This program is also made possible by all of you who have made donations to this program when you sign up for your own CSA. Thank you for that!
And CSA member or not, anyone who uses the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is able to purchase produce, groceries, veggie bedding plants, and seeds from us using their EBT cards. We accept these cards both at our farmstand and at the farmers’ markets we attend––Norwich, Lebanon, and DHMC.
Making our Educational programming accessible to everyone is very important to us too. We offer full and partial scholarships for summer campers, and this year, we have over a dozen kids coming to camp with financial assistance provided directly from Cedar Circle Farm. In 2017 we are also trying something new: any school who would like to come for an education program is welcome to come and pay whatever amount they can afford. Our suggested price is $6 per student, but we know that even a relatively modest price like that can be prohibitive, especially since schools face a significant barrier in the cost of transportation when it comes to field trips. We want every student in the Upper Valley to come to Cedar Circle Farm at least once in their K-12 years.
We are exploring every way we can to be accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to eat healthier and learn about organic, regenerative agriculture and the positive implications it can have on the lives of all of us. Thank you for being a part of our community and for supporting us in our growth and mission and our effort to include all of those in our community who wish to join us!
[ By Eric Tadlock on 2017 February 21 ]