As this funky Michigan warm weather draws nearer, I am finding myself spending more and more time outdoors preparing for the approaching growing season. Switching gears from desktops full of spreadsheets, old notes from the previous years, and bed maps for planting to squeezing in field cleaning and spreading cover crops when the weather allows. The itch to break ground for and get planting to once again gaze upon the beauty this earth has to offer is becoming irresistible!

This is an exciting season for Growing Hope as; for what I know; this will be the first in its 20 years of existence that we will be serving the community through CSA’s (community supported agriculture). As I have been reading and researching the ins and outs of CSA’s, I came across some brilliant information about the roots of the CSA model. It can be traced back to Professor Brooker T. Whatley of Tuskegee University in Alabama. Who was considered to be a 20th century pioneer sustainable agriculture in the 1970s. He toured the country in his day promoting “smaller and smarter farming” through what he had called “Clientele Membership Clubs. The model was very similar to what we know of CSA’s to be now. People paying in advance to receive food directly from the farmer.  He even went so far as to promote that it enabled the farmer to plan for production, anticipate demand, and have. a secure market of sales. His goal in this was to regenerate an agrarian black middle class.

I found this in Ben Hartmans book The Lean Farm who had found this in an article from mother earth news titled “CSA is rooted in Black History.”