On a morning in early November, the Siena Farms’ crew lines up hundreds of bushels of just-harvested veggies to start packing farm share boxes for their CSA members and for local families facing food insecurity. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a subscription-based business model that provides farms with funds upfront to use for the growing season. As each CSA box travels down the pack-line, a crew member delicately places freshly picked bolero carrots, crispy curly kale, meaty shiitake mushrooms, and spicy garlic bulbs into the box. At the end of the pack line, the box, chock full with more than 15 different types of veggies, gets stacked in a refrigerated van, and heads off for weekly home delivery to the farm’s CSA members in Manhattan and Brooklyn and for distribution to the non-profit organization, Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence.
Chris Kurth, owner of Siena Farms in Sudbury, Massachusetts, started his 75-acre farm 18 years ago on family farmland he grew up on after studying biology and philosophy at Williams College, where he fell in love with farming. Siena Farms uses regenerative, biological agricultural practices; free of chemical herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers to grow their produce. Today, the farm grows over 100 varieties of veggies for its year-round CSA membership, operates two small retail farm stores in Boston, and provides vegetables to Kurth’s wife Ana Sortun, acclaimed chef/owner of Oleana restaurant and Sofra Bakery in Cambridge, MA.
In 2020 the farm launched their Community Sponsored Farm Share Program to help close the food access gap in the greater Boston community. Through the program, CSA customers who are invested in making fresh produce more accessible in their community are able to purchase discounted vegetable box subscriptions for local families who might not otherwise have access to fresh produce. This year alone, the farm has donated over 2,300 weekly CSA Farm Shares to families facing food insecurity – an amount that totals more than $140,000 worth of fresh produce.
When the farm expanded their CSA delivery range to New York City this past June, Kurth and his team felt it was important to also expand the Community Sponsored Farm Share Program by finding a New York City based partner who could aid in the distribution of produce to those who need it most. Since distribution started in June, the farm’s partners at Sanctuary for Families have shared that their clients, who might not otherwise have access to fresh produce, are thankful and excited to have a regular source of fresh veggies.
Fresh, local produce is hard to come by over the colder months, so Kurth and his team have decided to keep CSA Farm Share deliveries to NYC and the Sanctuary for Families shelters year round. Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts’ Food Security Infrastructure Grant, Siena Farms has been building six new winterized greenhouses over the past year, which are now ready for this upcoming winter season. With six times the amount of new winter growing space, the farm has set a goal to double the number of donated weekly vegetable boxes to families living in shelters operated by Sanctuary for Families. To achieve this goal, Siena Farms is offering a matching program for CSA customers in New York City. Between now and December 1st, the farm will provide a 50% matching donation to Sanctuary for Families Farm Shares for every New York City Farm Share purchased. For example, if a customer purchases a twelve week Winter Pantry Farm Share for their own family, the farm will donate six additional weeks to a family in a Sanctuary for Families shelter. If a customer purchases a six week farm share for their own family, the farm will donate three additional weeks. Customers can also purchase a Community Sponsored Farm Share that will provide a full season of vegetable shares directly to a family currently living in a shelter.
To reserve a Siena Farms CSA farm share for your family and support food access in your community this winter and click here. Orders for 2023 CSA Farm Shares are also available with a 10% early-bird discount through 12/15.
Questions? Give them a call at 978-261-5365 or email email@example.com.