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Farm to Capitol: Local CSA at the LOB
In 2014 a pilot Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was launched at the Capitol: three neighboring farms from Lebanon, CT -- Sweet Acre Farm, Beltane Farm, and M&K Dairy -- came together to offer shares of their produce to Legislative Office Building (LOB) employees through a CSA program. Members at the capitol purchased shares of pesticide-free fresh vegetables and flowers, pastured meats (beef and pork), and/or artisanal goat cheese in the early spring, which entitled them to a weekly delivery of those products to their workplace throughout the summer months.
The program idea was conceived by Jonathan Janeway and Charlotte Ross of Sweet Acre Farm, and supported by the Office of Legislative Management at the LOB. Flexibility for both the farmer and customer is the central characteristic of the program as it is run. Jonathan and Charlotte, who started their vegetable farm in 2011, wanted to make access to fresh local food as easy as possible for members by bringing it right to them at their workplace. Having moved in 2014 from rented land to a neighborhood where so many diverse and delicious food products were being produced, it seemed like a no-brainer to collaborate with their neighbors to increase the variety of products in the CSA, and to support more small farms in the process. There is a small but vital internal team of LOB employees who volunteer to help coordinate the program, posting flyers and disseminating program information.
The CSA model is an important means of support for small local farms during winter months when they do most of their purchasing and investment for the season ahead. As shareholders in the farm, CSA members are highly valued customers who share in the risks and rewards of the season alongside the farmer. Being a CSA member is a truly unique and integral way to support the local food movement in Connecticut and beyond.
In 2016 the program will expand in size, though remains limited by the production capacity of these small farms. As in 2015, members enjoy access to an à la carte ordering website through which members of any type (vegetable, meat, or cheese), can order additional products from all three farms.
Jonathan and Charlotte manage the program that they run in collaboration with their neighbors Paul Trubey of Beltane Farm and Kim Abel of M&K Dairy. More than just neighbors, they are great friends who have dedicated themselves to the production of high-quality food for their local communities.
This program is currently open for enrollment. To find out more information or to sign up, please visit our website.
Charlotte Ross is co-owner/operator of Sweet Acre Farm. She and her husband are CT natives and first-generation farmers, living on their very own 6 acres along with a flock of laying hens, 2 milking goats, 2 farm cats, and the occasional pig. Charlotte grew up in West Hartford and relishes the opportunity to grow good food for the communities that helped raise her in the Greater Hartford area.
Featured Image of Marantha Community Gardens courtesy of Grow Windham.