This year we have accepted 3 beginning farmers into the program: Ben Harris of Root Down Farm CSA in Coventry, Josiah Venter of Ro-Jo Farms in Bethany and Roger & Issabelle Phillips of Sub Edge Farm in Farmington.
|Ben Harris. photo by Weston Monroe/Cara Paiuk|
Ben has earned degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics, was a political speechwriter and worked for the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations*. Ben's interest in local and organic agriculture began while on assignment in 2008 where he covered government raids on a large kosher meat packing company in Postville, Iowa and in 2010 he left he job in journalism to work on a small family owned farm in Vermont.
Since then he has farmed in northern California and western Connecticut and earned a certificate in ecological horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
"I believe growing food sustainably is among the greatest imperatives of our time and I find the work incredibly meaningful. But mostly, I love the lifestyle, the long days, the country living, and being more in tune with natural cycles."
Ben launched his farm, Root Down Farm CSA, just this year with a field of roughly two acres and a heated 3,000 square foot greenhouse to grow a variety of mixed vegetables for 30-40 CSA shares in the greater Hartford area with the hopes of eventually growing the CSA program to provide 300-350 shares in the future. For Root Down Farm CSA's 1st season Ben will be offering shares on a sliding scale from $450 to $750 for the season, to make the food more affordable to people on a lower income.
"Most CSAs sell for about $600, give or take, which is what I've set my target price at," Harris said. "But if that's hard for people — and I know that it is — I'll accept as little as $450."*
Those who can afford to pay more than $600 are asked to do so in order to help subsidize the less expensive shares.Harris said he's offering the lower prices;
"mainly because I think organic food should not be an elitist product, it shouldn't be something that only people who can afford to shop at Whole Foods can have access to. I think that being able to purchase healthy food that's grown in a manner that respects the earth and the people that work on it, that shouldn't be a luxury."*
For more information on Ben's farm visit rootdowncsa.com.
Check back to our blog over the next week for features on the other two Journeypersons Josiah Venter and Roger & Issabelle Phillips.
*From Courant article entitles "Hall Graduate Leaves Journalism, Becomes Farmer"