Farmer spotlight: Ford Waterstrat from Sustainable Harvest Farm
When Ford Waterstrat decided to start Sustainable Harvest Farm in London, KY with his wife Amanda Waterstrat, their goal was to grow food that nourished the community and the earth. Twelve years later, their farming operation has grown to 35 acres and the farm crew has expanded to 9 additional staff, but the mission remains the same.
Sustainable Harvest Farm is now in its 10th season offering a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program as a USDA certified organic farm. Their 22-week vegetable CSA share is a critical piece of how the farm builds relationships with local eaters.
The CSA, like the farm, has scaled up over the years, growing from 15 members to its current 420 members. However no matter the size, growing for CSA is still about the relationships Farmer Ford has with his members and the satisfaction of growing food for families.
CSA is nourishing for the health of members
One of the main benefits of joining a CSA for members is convenient access to delicious organic food. CSA members often report eating more fruits and vegetables, cooking more healthy recipes, and eating less processed food.
But it’s also about more than food. Sustainable Harvest Farm CSA members get a personal view of the farm (see SHF crew on a share packing day here). They receive weekly updates that communicate what’s happening on the farm, the successes and challenges of the season, and how the farm's organic practices make a difference. By the time the CSA season is over, members have gained a deeper understanding of their food and the farmers that grow it.
CSA is nourishing for KY Farmers
When farmers and consumers participate in CSAs, there is a mutually beneficial relationship. Farmers have a secure market for their product ahead of the growing season. Consumers get high quality food throughout the season. This upfront CSA share purchase allows farmers to spend less time on marketing and more time on growing great food.
In a time where only $0.14 cents of the average food dollar goes to farmers, 100% of the CSA purchase going directly to the farm makes a huge impact on the local food system.
CSA is nourishing for the environment
Sustainable Harvest Farm CSA members also get to support a local farm that is working to improve the natural environment. Each year, Farmer Ford uses cover crops to restore nutrients in the soil (see video here). He avoids the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals that improve water quality and promote biodiversity of plants and animals.
Supporting local farms, like Sustainable Harvest Farm, can not only nourish you, but communities across Kentucky. Learn more about Sustainable Harvest Farm on their OAK directory profile here. If you are a farmer interested in learning more about successes on a diversified vegetable farm, join us for a free virtual Field Day with Farmer Ford this Thursday August 5th - register here.