Would you like to support local farms, protect and enrich farmland, and feed your family fresh, extra-nutritious produce? That’s exactly what you do when you participate in a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program!
Community supported agriculture has many benefits, not just for your family but for the future of farming. And when you live at Harvest by Hillwood in Argyle/Northlake, Texas, you’re just steps from an innovative community supported agriculture project that provides not just fresh food, but also a back-to-the-earth experience for you and your family, with a neighborhood farm, an orchard, community garden plots, and gardening classes that can turn any thumb green!
From the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the definition of community supported agriculture is, “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.”
Consumers who want to support community supported agriculture can choose a local farm that participates in the model. They then buy a share of the farm’s output with an upfront cash payment and in return receive a box of fresh produce from the farm they support on a regular basis. Participation costs are determined by each CSA and the items in the delivery will vary depending on the season and the harvest. Some CSA programs include products from multiple farms and producers and may also include meat, eggs, dairy products, local honey, baked goods, and flowers.
By paying in advance, consumers help farms with overhead costs, and also share in the risks inherent in farming. This CSA safety net allows farmers to concentrate on sustainable farming practices—most community supported agriculture farms use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Community supported agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms, which face increasing economic risk and “are also the best hope for increasing land productivity and crop diversity to feed a growing world,” according to The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Consumers also reap the benefits of community-supported agriculture: Food that is fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than store-bought produce. Since plants and animals get their nutrients from the soil, it follows that food produced from healthy soil has increased nutrients. “Not all tomatoes are created equal in terms of vitamin content,” says Farmer Ross DeOtte, who heads up Harvest’s on-site farm and CSA program. “We tested a lot of our vegetables, and the nutrient content of our produce is a hundred times more potent than store bought stuff. This makes them taste better as well.”
Farmer Ross, proprietor of Misty Moon Farms, operates the commercial farm at Harvest and serves as our expert in residence at our agrihood. With a master’s degree from Texas A&M University, Ross utilizes permaculture and biodynamic growing practices to produce food that is, in his words, “beyond organic.” He grows a variety of produce including herbs, leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, and more at Harvest, and these items are available to residents through the community’s CSA program.
Misty Moons Farms also furnishes fresh produce to upscale Dallas restaurants like The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas, Chez Fabein, and of course, to Harvest residents, through a slightly different community supported agriculture model than the traditional one described above. “Residents wanted more choice when it comes to what items they would receive,“ explains Farmer Ross. To meet this need, Harvest switched to a custom ordering process, where customers choose from fresh seasonal produce, and place orders for as much or as little as they want by simply contacting Farmer Ross on Facebook. Their fresh, tasty, beyond-organic produce is delivered right to their doorstep.
For nearly seven years, Farmer Ross has been farming the land at Harvest while giving residents the knowledge and opportunity to grow their own food. Harvest homeowners can rent private garden plots, where they can grow their own food and/or raise crops for Harvest’s philanthropy partner, The North Texas Food Bank. Farmer Ross is there with gardening tips and free classes for adults and kids.
Come home to the Harvest by Hillwood agrihood, a community that embraces the values of our shared agricultural heritage: a healthy environment, a way to nurture ourselves and our families, and a true sense of community. You can see those values expressed in our community supported agriculture program, in the design of our new home community, and in our award-winning lifestyle. Become part of our community today! Our new construction builders have available homes, and many are offering incentives, so now is a great time to buy.