The chronicles of a CSA farm
To visit Aslans How Organics, you wont need to travel through a magic wardrobe, but having an interest in food production might help.
Aharown and Carolyn Luke want to reach people in the area with their community oriented farming and food production from their property at 24041 Highway 224.
The name of the farm comes from C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series, a reference to a hilly mound of earth in the fictional land.
The Lukes, along with their 3-year-old son Sage, moved to the farm from Bow, Wa, two years ago. This year, they plan on hosting a community supported agriculture program and community garden at their farm.
Their six acres of land includes carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and kale, among other crops. Two goats, a horse and chickens roam the land.
The Lukes want to help people have a greater understanding of the food they eat.
(Food has) this whole life it go through before it ends up on the shelves at the grocery store, said Aharown. We want to share that with people. Its really fun to get people to experience food in a different way.
One way they plan to do this is through their upcoming CSA program, which emphasizes local people and produce. Under the program, consumers contract with the farm to provide a certain amount of food each week.
Often, customers pick up their produce directly from the farm or the farmer delivers the food to the recipient personally. Both allows the customer to develop a relationship with the farmer and learn more about how their food is grown.
CSAs are also valuable since the money spent on food stays in the community, supporting the local economy. There are over 40 CSAs in the Portland area.
This is the Lukes first year as a CSA in Oregon, but they were cerified as one at their farm in Washington. This years program will begin in late July and last approximately 10 weeks.
The Lukes said their program will mainly cater to food stamp recipients in order to ensure that healthy and fresh food is a more widespread option.
We really want to focus on reaching people in marginalized situations, said Aharown.
Either food stamp benefits or cash can be used for the CSA program. The cost is $20 per week for approximately three to four days worth of food. They hope to have at least five people sign up for the program.
They have also set aside two acres for a community garden. Plots are 50 by 50 feet and available for $50.
The plots are community building, Aharown said. We want to share our land.
Carolyn said although the farm is not certified organic, they use organic standards and practices and avoid using any pesticide sprays.
Sometimes it can be a bit challenging to use organic practices for pest management, she said. Were hoping to plant some companion plants with the crops that will attract beneficial insects and propel not-so-beneficial insects away. Well also use cats to control the rodent population.
She works on the farm while Aharown works as an electrical engineer in Portland.
Farming has played a significant role in the couples life.
They were married in 2011 at their farm in Washington, Aharown driving Carolyn down the aisle in a tractor. Guests got fresh produce as wedding favors.
The Lukes find connections with other people one of their favorite aspects of farming. Just as they want people to know the context of their food, they also want to know the people who eat food from the farm.
I really take a personal interest (in knowing our members), said Aharown. We want to be more than just a grocery store.
If needed, Carolyn said, she tries to help people use food they receive from the farm.
We always include recipes with the food, she said. We hope to have a connection with each of our members, and we hope to be able to help them navigate through that.
Theyre passionate about sharing their land with others. Last year they hosted several block parties to introduce the farm to neighbors.
Carolyn said some of her favorite memories are the times weve had kids out to the farm, who have never grown produce before, watching their expressions when they pull carrots or potatoes from the ground.