Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Sustainable Farm on Fellows Road

In 2008 Fellows Farm was created by Erika Gorgenyi ’97, Amie Charland ’05 and another friend because of a shared interest in healthy, local foods and a desire to serve and educate the community on healthy living. Tim Laird—full-time farmer with The Food Project—has served as a consultant for Fellows Farm.The farm, located in Ipswich on Fellows Road, was acquired after the three put an ad on Craigslist looking for space to farm. A family responded, offering two and a half acres of their land. “We love growing food for the community,” says Gorgenyi. “It’s so good to see our members week after week, getting to know them and showing them how their food is grown and who is growing it. It’s such an important connection that has been lost in our society. We also like being able to educate people. Members not only learn about food and healthy eating but also about the land and responsibility. We give opportunities for our members to walk around the farm, we offer recipe ideas for their produce, and we’ll also be offering a canning and preserving workshop so they learn how to not waste any of their food.”
Our driving principles are community, locally and organically grown produce, and sustainability. We are committed to growing organically—not using chemicals, synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. We are committed to restoring nutrients to the soil with practices such as crop rotation, planting crops that are beneficial to the health of the soil, and using compost. Additionally, we have a strong commitment to the surrounding community and donate to a local shelter at least twice each week. We seek to provide our shareholders with as much information as we can about their food, including ways to cook and preserve it and the opportunity for our members to get out in the fields with us and experience the farm firsthand.”
Gorgenyi explains how a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm works: “People pay for their season of produce up front. This money helps us cover the costs of running the farm—buying seeds, equipment, etc., as well as working the land. Then the shareholders pick up their food weekly throughout the season. Members recognize they are sharing both the risks and rewards of farming since it is always subject to forces beyond our control—weather and pests. In this sense it is much more a community endeavor—sharing in the understanding of healthy food production and also investing in/supporting the local economy.”
Many members from the Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell communities have volunteered at Fellows Farm, and this past spring Ming Zheng, professor of biology, took a class to help with the construction of a new “hoop house,” a nonheated greenhouse.
Gorgenyi continues: “The produce is local and seasonal, meaning that we will have what grows well in this region at each stage of this growing season. So in early summer you’ll see lots of greens and the crops that do well in cooler temps. As the summer goes on you’ll see increased quantities and lots more variety—many of the more standard or familiar crops like tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, etc. Then as we get into the fall we’ll be back to some of the cooler weather crops and autumn veggies as well as pumpkins, winter squashes and the like. The growing season runs from late June through October (18–20 weeks).”
For more information email fellowsfarmipswich@gmail.com.

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