This year our farm crew and equipment were put to the test in the driest farm season on record, and truly proved how resilient the LexFarm crew and community are! In a year of extreme drought we increased production, brought on a three person farm crew and full-time assistant manager, began a successful work-for-share program, continued a mutually beneficial relationship with Picadilly Farm, increased farm stand sales, met our goal for CSA share value, exceeded our goal for donations to local food banks, and hosted our first end-of-season Bulk Veggie Sale! We are proud of our hardworking staff, volunteers, and Board Members, and grateful to our CSA members for providing the core support for our farm organization.
The Growing Season: Weather, Plant Diseases, and Pests
In August 2016, after several months of dry conditions, Middlesex County was officially declared in a state of “extreme drought.” Despite Lexfarm’s adequate access to water from our well, the drought created poor germination conditions for our direct-seeded crops, increased transplant shock due to heat stress for our seedlings, and required the farm crew to spend excessive time placing and moving irrigation lines. We lost two direct-seeded plantings of peas in May due to poor germination. We had to delay many of our June transplanting dates in order to water in each seedling enough to establish strong root systems.
Despite these crop losses, we were able to deliver 115% of your CSA value due to an abundance of heat-loving crops, and our effective drip irrigation system. We were pleased to see that our well holds up in a dry season. Many other area farms faced dry wells due to falling water tables. Read the rest…
1. The Super (Hero) Staff
Many thanks to Tim and Elena, the farm crew Quin, Micah, Sam, Jess, and the work-for-shares for their many hours over one of the hottest and driest summers on record. They kept our CSA shareboxes full, provided much needed fresh produce to local families in need and continued to improve the health and productivity of the soil — all using organic farming practices.
Our volunteers helped to transplant, weed and harvest, facilitate our produce donation, beautify the farm and support us at events on the farm and in the community. You were a critical part of our successful 2016 season.
3. Our New Mascot – Stewey!
Stewey, we love you just for being you.
4. Food Access
LexFarm met its goal again this year, donating 10% of its harvest to local food pantries and food rescue organizations. Over $12,000 worth of fresh produce was passed to our partners, including Lexington Food Pantry, FoodLink, Boston Area Gleaners, and LexEats.
5. Our Grant Supporters
LexFarm used our Community Endowment of Lexington (CEL) grant to retain Lori Rutter of Adviza Consulting, who provided long-term planning geared toward improving management of the farm and farm programs. A grant from the Adobe Foundation funded Gretta Anderson’s work as Volunteer Coordinator for 2016. Gretta lent her vision to our new volunteer program, launched late summer.
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We are excited to begin planning for next year. We encourage everyone who shares a passion for our mission of connecting the community to locally grown food to get involved.
Interested in Committee work?
- Enjoy writing publicity, have social media skills or have WordPress design and/or editing skills?
- Have a background in fundraising or event planning?
- Feel excited to teach about sustainable farming?
- Want to help with farm property work?
More details and contacts can be found at http://lexfarm.org/volunteer.
Interested in the Board of Directors?
We seek people who have previous non-profit board experience to join our enthusiastic working board as we move out of the start-up phase.
Please send an email with a letter of interest discussing your qualifications to Sue Schiffer.
This is it. Week 20 of the CSA. We hope everyone enjoyed their share as much as we did providing it!
Many have been asking what will happen at the farm over the winter. By now we’ve mowed, mashed up, or pulled out most of the residue from this season’s crops. Look closely and you’ll see cover crops starting to sprout in the bare fields. These crops will lock up our nutrients and prevent winter erosion. We farmers still have some small infrastructure improvements and cleaning to wrap up, including winterizing our pipes and irrigation system. Once that’s done, we’ll plan for next year and start ordering supplies. Before we know it, it will be time to start up the greenhouse again in late February, when it will also be time to sign up for a new CSA season!
It’s been a pleasure getting to know our shareholders over the last 20 weeks; we hope to continue getting to know you better in seasons to come! Thank you for a great season.
- Tim Hines, Lexington Community Farm Manager
Farm Manager Tim Hines and Assistant Farm Manager Elena Colman have developed and begun to implement a more efficient Systems Plan for the farm. The first key step of this plan was the purchase of a new tractor and tractor equipment. Thanks to the generous Willow Tree Fund we now have our first key piece of equipment, a beautiful orange Kubota M6060 tractor with front-end loader, rollover protective structure, and canopy! And it’s already being put to good use.