Why Co-operative Growers?
Family farms have historically had a difficult time competing in the market place. Diversification of crops, sales, marketing, delivery schedules, fuel usage all compete for the farmer's time and resources, often creating a negative impact on stress levels and energy. Accordingly, I have begun to work co-operatively with several other farmers, effectively addressing some of these issues and creating a positive working relationship with my fellow farmers. Co-operative growers have become an important part of our CSA. In order to be well rounded and to have a greater variety of produce in our CSA program, I have sought out other like-minded growers to partner with. Using co-operative growers has been a positive experience.
Genesis Growers Co-operative Growers
Moore Family Farm
Jim and Diann Moore, along with their son, Wes, farm 100 acres in rural Watseka, Illinois. Their main focus is raising livestock with wholistic natural processes. Jim and Diann have taken over raising our chickens for both meat and egg production. All their poultry is free range and pastured. The Moores practice intensive rotational grazing, rotating pasture at a maximum of once weekly and more often if needed. Jim and Wes grind and custom blend all their feed, most of which is grown on their farm. Kelp and dried grass hay is routinely added to their feed ration to ensure the eggs and meat are high in omega three fatty acids and maintain their high nutritive value year round.
Deercreek Organics, located in Kankakee, Illinois is owned and operated by Jeff Franklin, my primary growing partner. Jeff is certified organic through Indiana Certified Organics, with a portion of his land currently in transition to certified status. He is currently farming 25 acres of his family's farmland. When Jeff began farming 5 years ago, he began with a vision to convert his family land from traditional farming practices to organic production – a task he has very successfully accomplished. Jeff is a welcome and appreciated growing partner.
Three Sisters Garden
Three Sisters Garden, owned and operated by Tracey Vowell and Kathe Roybal, specialize in small grain production and micro greens. They are located in Kankakee County, about ten miles from my farm. Tracey and Kathe are "certified natural," and therefore use no chemicals in the production of their crops. Because they grow small grains, their products add a nice diversity to our CSA shares.
Our fruit growers are all located in the fruit growing belt of lower Michigan. All three have been selected due to their excellent growing practices. Each of our growers is sustainable, although not certified organic, practicing wise environmental stewardship. In the Midwest it is very difficult to grow certified organic tree fruits. So, while many of our fruits are not certified organic, they are grown using minimal inputs with great care towards Integrated Pest Management.
Seedling Fruit, owned by Peter Klein, produces blueberries, apples, pears and apple cider.
Mick Klug Farms
Mick Klug Farms, owned by Mick Klug, produces a wide variety of delicious fruits, including peaches, blueberries, pears, apricots, plums and grapes.
Hillside Orchards, owned by Paul and Sarah Thelen, produce the majority of the apples we use as well as some of our peaches.