Winter Grain Bundle CSA

Large scale agricultural systems don’t always “work” for farmers.  This is especially true for those trying to make a go of it on smaller areas of land, those who are experimenting with rotations that build up soil quality and nutrients without chemical applications, or who are trying out new crops.  Farmers usually need a full semi-truck load (around 40,000 pounds!!!) before a grain buyer will bother looking at it, so if a farmer harvests a smaller quantity there’s often nowhere for it to go.  Sometimes this means that perfectly good food crops are fed to livestock or left in the corner of a grain bin until the following year, and usually results in no income for the farmer who grew it.

This system also doesn’t work for consumers or for the environment.  Large scale processing means that food grown in a particular area doesn’t stay there.  In order to get milled/processed it needs to travel half-way around the country and then back again, packaged, repackaged, sold to brokers, distributors, and retailers before it makes its way to your dinner plate.

 

 

We wanted to help out in some way, and this winter we’ve decided to give it a whirl.  We’ll be using our seed cleaning and milling facility to round up bits and pieces of “leftover” crops.  Food that is wonderfully nutritious, organically grown, and lovingly tended, but because of logistics, can’t be sold into the conventional market.  They will be gathered up from around the province, cleaned (this is the process of getting rid of the weeds, straw, stones, and miscellany that comes along with harvested crops), minimally packaged (who’s up for bringing that pile of ice cream pails and mason jars from the closet to help create a zero-waste food supply?!?), and distributed via a one-time drop-off in Winnipeg or Brandon in January 2019.

 

We’ve called our concept a CSA, or “Community Supported Agriculture”.  You’re probably more familiar with this concept in the summer, where you buy a “share” of a small scale market garden, and then receive a weekly package of veg.  By purchasing a grain CSA share, you are making it possible for small-scale organic farmers around the province to take risks, to try new crops, new rotations, incubate value-added ventures, and know that there is a local market for what they are growing.  We will make sure that you receive fair value or better for your purchase, but we can’t commit to exact quantities until the crop round-up is complete.  If there’s only two hundred pounds of hemp seed available and 100 people sign up, you’ll all get 2 lbs.  If 200 people sign up everyone will get 1 lb of hemp seeds and we’ll add another product to fatten up the bundle.  This is essential to the meaning of Community Supported Agriculture:  eating what is locally abundant and available, reducing food waste and system inefficiencies, and connecting local farmers to the people around them.

 

The products that will be available in a winter grain bundle are all Manitoba grown and Certified Organic, and include the following:

French Green Lentils

Naked Oats

Quinoa

Flax

Black Turtle Beans

Dried Peas

Wild Rice

Buckwheat Flour

Emmer Flour ** (gluten-free substitutions available)

 

 

 

Grains and pulses are all grown by variety of organic farmers around the province, including:

Adagio Acres

Crocusview Farms

Rigby Orchard Farms

Tamarack Farms

Ploughshares Community Farm

Jeremiah Evans

Harris Ridge Farm

Deruck’s Top of the Hill Farm

 

Orders are closed for the winter.  A huge thanks to everyone who jumped on board and helped make this work.  Our first year was an incredible success, with over 13,000lbs of locally grown, organic food making it’s way to Manitoba homes.

For anyone picking up an order, the pick-up location has changed to T&T Seeds on Roblin Blvd., on Saturday, January 19th, from 9:00 to 5:00.    The Brandon pick-up will be on Thursday, January 24th, at 318 11th St, from 2:00-6:00.

A newsletter has been sent out with details, so check your inbox or spam folder, or see the link below:

 

 



 

 


 

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