Karl’s Farm is entirely supported by our CSA programs and for that we thank you all, but the relationship we share is not simply financial. Together we are fighting land developers and big agriculture, we are cutting our combined carbon footprint, we are reclaiming marginal farmland and showing the community at large that vegetable farming is not a thing of the past in Southern Maryland.
Community Supported Agriculture has various names – subscription vegetables, vegetable shares – and all farms do things a little differently. The common theme is that community members offset the farmer’s expenses by purchasing shares before the season begins and in return shares of the harvest as it becomes available. In this way the farmer is not beholden to creditors, is not risking his farm with each new loan, and has a measure of financial security. In return his supporters receive the freshest vegetables available, a more complete understanding of where their food comes from and how it is grown, the satisfaction of keeping a working farm in their community and a renewed connection to the land.
Community Supported Agriculture is risky. No farm is immune from the vagaries of the weather or infestation by pests. Farming is hard, adversity makes it harder, these are unavoidable facts. Here at Karl’s Farm we do as much as we possibly can to lessen the risks and adapt to adversity. We plant a wide variety of vegetables and herbs with the idea that when one is not favoured by the weather, another will be. To say nothing of the variety this offers to our supporters palates. Our farm size makes us more adaptable than the large mono-croppers. We plant vegetables that can be harvested more than once and we make many successive plantings – this is all done by hand. Large farms use large tractors to plant huge fields with one crop and then harvest the entire field all at once. They also buy crop insurance and receive government subsidies, our supporters are our crop insurance, we do not need subsidies.