Hi, my name is Dan and I'm the head farmer at the Community Farm of Ann Arbor. We've been a biodynamic farm for 33 years and were the first CSA in Michigan. Community relationships and innovative practices are at the heart of what we do.
The pioneering spirit is rising up again. We've adopted a no-till farm system and have re-integrated animals with vegetable production. On the economic side, we grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for our CSA members with an agreement that a direct connection to the farm is something valuable; members come to the farm each week to pick up produce and are required to participate in whatever way they can with the work of operating a farm. In addition to CSA member dues, we are initiating a second stream of income, assigning value to the activity of stewardship alongside the activity of food production.
We have always made an honest effort to take good care of the environment while also growing food to meet human needs. In a way, this effort was a gift provided for by CSA members to the larger community. Ecosystem services provided by our land contribute to clean air and water for others to enjoy; ecosystem habitat on our land provides diverse wildlife that come and go for miles around, contributing their healing influence in the surrounding community. But stewardship is not limited to taking good care of the earth. We also take good care of each other, fostering rich relationships that each individual carries with them out into the world at large. Many of these relationships continue to shape the lives of individuals even after they move away from the area.
This year, we are asking for gifts to support our Stewardship Commitment. Of our 10 acres, we only produce vegetables on 1.5 acres, leaving the remainder to serve as wildlife habitat and community open space. We have solar panels and have converted our tractor from gas to electric, and power it by the sun. We manage stormwater so that it moves slowly across our land, giving time to infiltrate into the earth rather than simply run off. Our efforts to care for this space and keep it available are substantial and we are asking for others to show that we share the value of responsible stewardship.
Our CSA members have already promised $36,500. This campaign will provide the remainder of the funds needed to practice good stewardship for the year and has already prompted interest from two other long-time biodynamic farms in other parts of the country. We are happy to share our innovative practices and our successes and I want to say "thank you" to you for sharing this campaign and demonstrating the value of responsible stewardship today.