Harvestland Farm: Farming with a Mission
Mar 03, 2012 04:27PM
By Beth Davis
Harvestland Farm, in Anderson, is not your typical farm. Sure, it offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a farm store and even sells its organically grown produce at local farmers’ markets, but it is also a social mission.
For the past five years, the farm—operated by Aspire Indiana, a private, nonprofit organization that provides therapy and recovery services to people living with behavioral and mental health disorders, addictions and substance abuse—has not only provided food to the community, but also provided employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals.
“We have incredibly high standards and therefore offer a really good-quality product,” says farm manager, David Robb. “People appreciate that not only can they purchase this fresh, nutrient dense produce, but they are supporting a social mission as well.”
The farm’s spring and summer CSA is a partnership between members and the farm. Members (called shareholders) purchase a share in the farm’s gardens before the season starts and then get a weekly basket of fresh produce, fresh herbs and even flowers. What is in the basket depends on what is in season, but ranges from lettuce, kale, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, corn, peppers, and squash to name a few.
The farm store, located on Harvestland Farm’s campus between Anderson and Lapel, has fresh, naturally-grown produce available year-round, seven days a week thanks to on-site hoop houses and greenhouses. In fact, in the past year, the farm added two more hoop houses, which expanded the winter vegetable production to 17,000 square feet. Last season, the farm had seven acres under production and this year will go to 14 acres.
“It is our goal as a market garden to produce the cleanest, freshest, tastiest varieties of organically raised produce available in our area while at the same time enhancing our social mission of providing employment opportunities for citizens with disabilities,” notes Robb.