Janice Stevens of the Wilson Street Urban Farm was kind enough to answer some questions I sent her way.
The farm is entering it’s third year and I wanted to get an update for you as to where the farm is at.
BFA: In heading into the third year of the Wilson Street Urban Farm, are you still amazed it became a reality?
JS: I think the amazement has worn off and we are now just into the work and the lifestyle. Successful farming is, most of all, a lifestyle that you either commit to or it eats you up. We like it. The greatest pleasure from last year was being back into the groove of growing food and eating like kings! Making that food available to others is just gravy.
BFA: What new things can we expect to see this year on the farm?
JS: This year we will continue to incorporate more of the farm into growing food. We will be adding potatoes and dry beans, although there probably won’t be enough for sale at the stand this year. We were able to attend the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Conference this winter where we learned some new techniques for growing in the hoop house that should result in increased harvests. We hope to fill our new herb area and begin to grow flowers to sell.
BFA: Tell us more about your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative? Have you received a lot support and how will it impact the farm?
JS: Last year we had four CSA members who graciously allowed us to experiment on them. We really like the CSA model because all the produce picked for share members goes directly to them with no waste, and because it helps create community. This year we made an appeal for a core group of CSA members who would commit to not only buying a CSA share, but also to meeting regularly to brainstorm ways in which to move forward the vision of the farm. We are having our first meeting with the core group on Thursday and are excited about getting input from others with diverse talents.
BFA: What type of obstacles do you still face?
JS: Our toughest obstacle continues to be obtaining large quantities of compost to restore the soil for a reasonable outlay of money. Trucking is expensive. Our greatest challenge is to provide farm produce to our lower-income neighbors at a price they can afford while still keeping the farm economically sustainable. Our unexpected challenge is to know when to say yes and when to politely decline the many invitations for publicity. Exposure is good but could lead to burnout.
BFA: If people are interested in getting involved with the Wilson Street farm, how can they do it?
JS: People interested in getting involved with the farm can keep track of our blog (http://wilsonstreeturbanfarm.wordpress.com/) and/or announcements on Facebook. We will again this year have one volunteer day a month.
Thank you to Janice and Mark Stevens…they truly help keep the neighborhood ALIVE!!!