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Getting Closer to the Land with Community Supported Agriculture

  • Written by Christine Dubois

It’s a sunny day on a farm off the Redmond-Woodinville road just south of Woodinville. People are in the fields picking zinnias and dahlias, herbs and greens. The fresh smell of the earth mixes with the scent of basil and flowers. Others are in the farm store picking up their weekly share of organic produce picked that morning. In a section of the farm called the “Children’s Garden,” kids get to pick their own vegetables straight out of the ground. People of all ages are smiling and greeting each other.

Welcome to the Root Connection Farm: the oldest CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Washington State.

The Root Connection began in 1987, thanks to the vision and hard work of farmer Claire Thomas, a dedicated environmentalist who is devoted to land preservation and healthy food production. Thomas is still with the Root Connection.

According to longtime Root Connection member Bill Mowat, “The Root Connection is a labor of love. It exists because those who farm and those who are members understand the benefits of eating healthy food and literally being able to walk on the land where the food is grown.”

Thomas adds, “A yearly membership in the Root Connection is an investment in our children’s present and their future. We are farmers who believe that farming in an organic way, and treating the land well, makes a difference for people.”

A CSA is made up of members who get a weekly or biweekly “share” of vegetables, flowers, and herbs from June-October (about 20 weeks). The weekly cost of joining, often paid upfront but sometimes paid in installments, is $44 a week. This covers a lot of vegetables, enough for a family of four to six. Like most CSAs, the Root Connection offers half shares for smaller households. Each week members take home produce and can also walk into the fields and pick herbs, flowers and greens—so many varieties of greens.

The other benefit of being a member of the Root Connection is the quality of the food. It’s fresher, tastier, and more healthful than food from the supermarket or delivered. Commercial storage techniques can make produce bought at a grocery store look fresh for a long period of time. But the enzymes and vitamins in fruit and vegetables start deteriorating as soon as they are picked. Produce from a CSA was picked that day, and people can taste the difference.

This is what vegetables used to taste like, when they had flavor.

CSAs typically run on thin margins. Small farming, once the backbone of our country, is now unusual—an act of courage. The Root Connection is a place where members and their families feel a connection to the Earth, and where gratitude and appreciation for farming is experienced firsthand.

Says Thomas, “We need support from the community, but in return we offer a community experience. The Root Connection is a place that people love to come to. Members think of it as ‘their farm’ –a place to relax and be outside.”
The farm is still accepting members for 2018.  For more information, see www.rootconnection.net or call 425-881-1006.

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