19. March 2015 · Comments Off on CSA Shares 2015/ Farm Updates · Categories: Farm Thoughts, season update · Tags: , ,

Dear Once and Future CSA Shareholders and other Friends,

We’ve had a good early response to our first CSA communication with several of you renewing your membership, plus some new folks as well.  So don’t miss out if you haven’t contacted us yet.  A check or your proposed payment plan will reserve you a spot. Again shares are $500, winter storage shares are $125.  The season will start sometime in mid to late May and end in early October and will last 20 weeks.  We are hedging on the dates a little this year because of the phenomenal weather, which may push for an early start.
FARM UPDATE.  Diane continues to fuss about the need to communicate with you more frequently, on a variety of topics.  First, of course is her desire to know who will be joining us this year.  But there is much more afoot at Hunters’ Greens.
We have been keeping up pretty well on the farming thanks to the glorious weather.  Jim saw the first sprouts of the sugar snap peas emerging this morning.  We also have planted three 50 foot beds of direct seeded spinach.  There are a score of trays of spinach transplants leafing out in the green house as well.  The walla walla onion starts are up and now we’re germinating cabbages and kales.  We have many more beds in the fields ready to receive seed and transplants than we ordinarily would this early.
SAVING THE LAGLER DAIRY.  Somehow around our farm work we have taken on trying to save the Lagler Dairy which is just down the highway from us, and is slated to become a rural light industrial land bank (don’t let that word “light” fool you).  We just can’t bear to see 600 acres of prime farm land turned into warehouses for cheap foreign goods destined for big box stores that put local merchants out of business (or something worse).  Our number one strategy is to put together a consortium of investors to buy it before it gets converted.  Jim sent an e-mail to Eco-trust recently, which captures the spirit of our quest:

Dear Mike,

I visited the Ecotrust website this evening, and your contact information was on the page that looked closest to what I am looking for.

My wife Diane and I operate a small CSA farm in Brush Prairie, Washington, about 12 miles northeast of Vancouver, Washington.  A large dairy farm about a half mile from us is being proposed as a light industrial land bank.  We believe this is a poor land use decision for a variety of reasons.

As you may know, Clark County Government’s council members are very conservative and are likely to support the conversion out of agriculture.  As a life long political activist, I’ve tired of beating my head against that particular wall.

So, I got inspired to see if it were possible to put together a consortium to buy the dairy farm and re-purpose it into a community of smaller, more diverse farms.  I imagine this including several small diversified produce farms like my own and some medium sized more conventional berry acreages, which are the dominant use adjacent to the property.  A smaller, possibly organic, dairy could utilize some of the existing infrastructure, and the property has enough beauty to possibly attract a winery/tasting room complex or a micro-brewery.  An adjacent Battle Ground School District environmental education center might be a launching pad for an agricultural/environmental public education center similar to Lake Farm Park in Ohio.  The possibilities seem as diverse as a person could imagine.

Working from a greener perspective than most local Clark County folk, I believe that there is enough value in diverse agricultural uses to compete in the open market with a vague proposal for a land bank hoping to attract light industrial development.  However, considerable financial backing would be necessary to shepherd the project from its present state to a working alternative.

Initial contact has been made with the seller’s legal representative, and the seller is willing to consider a proposal.

Despite a good liberal arts education and a background in community organizing, I find the prospect of researching and implementing such a proposal overwhelming (particularly when the sunshine beckons me to my principal livelihood).

The name “Ecotrust” has come up in a number of conversations with others who support this idea.  Is this a project for which Ecotrust could provide technical and/or financial support?  Would someone there be interested in exploring and assessing the possibilities with myself and a small group of co-consirators?

Sincerely,

Jim Hunter
Hunters’ Greens Farm
15716 N.E. 112th Avenue
Brush Prairie, WA 98606
huntersgreens@spiritone.com

So, that’s our Quixotic agenda for this year.  If anyone has ideas of investors, lenders or donors that might look favorably on this project, be sure to let us know.  And know that when you sign up for a share with Hunters’ Greens, this is the work you are helping support.  Of course in the spirit of full disclosure, know that you are sharing the risk of Jim getting carried away and neglecting the farm a little.  But also know that you all saw us through the period of coordinating care for Jim’s ailing parents and the process of settling their estate, and none of us went hungry.  This may be a slightly larger challenge, but hopefully not as gut wrenching.
Thanks again for your awesome support.
Jim and Diane Hunter
Hunters’ Greens Farm
360 256-3788
p.s.  Diane wants to add that Jim may neglect the farm, but she will be the ever present shrew in the background crying for justice for all, including the CSA shareholders.