Farmer John Writes: Agriculture Supported Community

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 20, November 8th – 13th, 2021

Is this the End?

This is Week 20, the last week of our 20-week main season. If you are not signed up for an extended season share, this is your last week of deliveries. Thank you for being with us this season.

If you are not sure if you still have deliveries left this season, please log in to your membership account to view your delivery calendar.

bok choy

Join Us for 2022 through Saturday, November 13th 

Shareholders keep signing up for next year, so we are going to keep the 15% early renewal discount, which will be active through Saturday, November 13th. Current shareholders can opt for a 15% discount or opt to help the farm even more by foregoing the discount. Either is appreciated.

Sign up for your 2022 CSA share by logging in to your membership account and clicking on “Purchase or renew subscription”. If you choose the discount, enter coupon code RENEW15 at checkout.

For details on why early signups are important, read Week 17 Farm News, People Were Scared.

Victor and Nathan transport lettuce, early morning

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture has a nice ring to it, and many of our shareholders truly resonate with its meaning.

Agriculture Supported Community

Agriculture Supported Community—how does it ring for you? For me, I lament that in my extreme busyness in keeping the farm going these past 32 years as a CSA, I have not been able to be supportive of our shareholder community in ways that I initially imagined. Yes, I have been supportive of our community by growing healthy food, providing a U-Pick garden, offering a connection to the farm through Farm News, hosting Field Days, and providing share customizing, but this hasn’t sufficiently satisfied me.

The current CSA arrangement creates a relationship to the farm, but this relationship is more like spokes in a wheel. It does not structurally facilitate a relationship between shareholders; it primarily facilitates a relationship between the farm and individual shareholders. 

hub, spokes

I like to bring people together; this has been a strong current throughout my adult life. The sacrament of our shareholders eating from the same farm doesn’t offer an adequate form for them to connect with one another. 

My inspiration for having a CSA farm was to bring people together, to build community through the wondrous place of an ever-unfolding farm. However, Angelic Organics farm is really too distant from most of our shareholders for it to become a hangout–an ongoing, drop-in place of awe-inspiring, life-affirming encounters. Also, the farm-as-hangout is really not possible without a full-time host who enthusiastically greets all with an offer of muffins, coffee, tea or juice, and orients them to the wonders of farm life; this is a hospitality dream for the distant future. An even more distant dream is a café, which firmly establishes us as a destination of warmth, food and hospitality. However, the CSA network can help my dream of nurturing shareholders to come somewhat true by facilitating encounters with and support for one another near where you live.

Renewal of a Former Form

I want to support shareholders in your dreams, your initiatives, your enterprises, and I want to encourage shareholders to join in supporting your fellow shareholders. My plan for this strengthening of bonds within our community will start with the re-creation of a Shareholder Services Directory. 

Back When

In our former Shareholder Services Directory, created in hard copy in 1995, shareholders had 85 individual listings; at least one out of ten shareholders listed a service or a product in our directory.

The directory was very popular. Years after we published it, shareholders told me that it was still serving them as a resource. (Let me know if you still consult that guide, 26 years after it was published.) 

Still Applicable

I wrote the following in the introduction to our former Shareholder Services Directory. It will apply to the upcoming directory:

“Healthy food from Angelic Organics is a unifying theme for members of our CSA, but it is just a beginning. Food does not satisfy all our various needs; there is so much more that we rely on in our everyday life. Use the service directory to support your health, your environment, your children, your legal and financial needs, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, your business—what an ideal way to weave community into the diverse membership of Angelic Organics.”

These were some of the services and products offered by shareholders: architectural design and construction, aromatherapy, art, bakery, bicycles, bodywork/massage, childbirth and pregnancy, childcare, counseling, data analysis, dietary consultation, drum making, environmental purification, film and video, financial and business services, food, holistic health center, home inspection, legal, meeting room and cooking, mask making and puppeteering, mural painting, nutritional supplements, organic clothing and accessories, publishing and illustration, speaker, storytelling, starting a business, and voice lessons. 

1995 hard copy Shareholder Services Directory listing for the Melvins, our esteemed Ravenswood Manor site hosts and shareholders for over 30 years


Of course, the new directory will be internet based, easily searchable by location, service, etc. I am currently exploring various companies that provide templates for online directories. It’s a bit complicated today to select and host such a service, as there are many, many options available, add-ons, etc. It needs to be easy to use and easy to manage while still providing powerful and convenient features. As much as I would love to offer this service for free, there will probably be a fee for shareholders to list their businesses, as we will need to pay for the use of the online platform and to moderate the platform. (It will only be a platform for providing shareholder services and products, not a platform for political views.) 

When Will the Service Directory Launch?

I don’t usually announce a development or an offer before it is actually ready to launch. However, I have been wanting to renew our Shareholder Services Directory for so many years that I am finally declaring, before it happens, that it is going to happen—this winter. 

Former Instructions for Using the Shareholder Services Directory

I suppose this 1995 example for how to use the service directory will be applicable for how to use the new directory:

“Let’s say you want to build a house. You go to the Architecture section, find your architect, share your 3D dream. You also notice, when you are in that section, there is a fellow CSA member who can take care of your patio lighting, someone who can paint luxurious patterns on your walls, and someone who can keep your deck clean. Under Household Tools and Supplies, you find a source of kitchen accessories and ecological cleaning supplies.

“Thinking about your kitchen makes you hungry. You and your partner choose your dining destination from the Food section; the restaurant serves tomato soup. You are sure the tomatoes came from Angelic Organics

“On your way home, you whip out your guide to find the address of that aromatherapy place, because you are confident that there is a fragrance that will help you imagine your dream house more creatively. The proprietor of the store asks you which heirloom tomatoes you got in your box this week. You don’t answer; the aroma has swept you into a daydream about your dream house. 

“You continue home. Embarrassed by your behavior in the aromatherapy store, your partner suggests you improve your communication skills. He reaches for the directory. You grab it from him to find a counselor to resolve this conflict. While lurching for the directory, you twist your back. Your partner lovingly consults the guide to direct you to a chiropractor

“The chiropractor is wearing a nice organic shirt made by a shareholder. The chiropractor suggests you buy a bicycle. The bicycle makes you want to sing. 

“You get voice lessons. You become a great singer. You don’t know what to do with all your money. You consult your guide to determine who can help you invest responsibly. You realize you need an attorney to manage your contracts. The attorney looks in his directory, suggests a graphic artist to design your album cover. Your attorney just had a drum made by an Angelic Organics shareholder, and requests to do percussion on your album. If you accept, she will finance a music video

“You suddenly crave arugula; you must be expecting a baby. You reach for the directory…”

(Note from Farmer John: That baby would now be about 26 years old.)

One of My Foremost Guiding Principles

I often say, “what are we on earth for if not to help others?” The following 3 questions are my guide for how I like to engage others, though, of course, it’s not always this straightforward:

“Who are you?
What do you need?
How can I help?”

I believe that the Shareholder Services Directory will help to enliven this guiding principle.

Farmer John

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Showing 5 comments
  • Terran Doehrer

    When you get to collecting information for the Shareholder Services Directory, please contact us. We are internationally-touring musicians, Waldorf-based homeschool educators, and more.

    • Farmer John

      Will do, Terran. I sampled some of your group’s music today–so evocative. Thank you.

  • jeff milroy

    A farm as a hangout? I purchased a 57 acre farm back in 2005. Attending the nearby Carroll County Fair one year on my Son’s August birthday – we found ourselves without a place to bed down overnight since we did not wish to disturb the White Pines State park campground by coming in too late. We opted to quietly park the pickup on the 57 acre parcel on a sloping grassy waterway tucked in amongst 7 foot tall corn and a sky brilliant with stars. Sacking out on the pickup bed, imagine our delight laying on our backs drifting off to sleep when suddenly a fireball streaked across the heavens. A moment later another and another. We had “discovered” the Perseid Meteor shower at its peak at a spot far from “light pollution”. It became a yearly pilgrimage and cherished tradition.

    • Farmer John

      Jeff, What a beautiful night you described. Thank you!

  • Jack

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

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