As stated in my previous post, I wanted to devote my next entry to the conversation I had with Chris Hartman about the Good Food Collective and the idea of our region’s local rural farms looking for ways to get food into urban communities.
Chris was generous enough to take the time to talk with me in detail about the South Wedge Farmers’ Market and his desire to build off of the Farmers’ Markets to continue to find ways to bring healthy food into the communities of Rochester.
He was the founder or the South Wedge Farmers Market back in 2007. The market was started with a desire to infuse an urban neighborhood with producer-only vendors from farms across central New York State. The Good Food Collective is a gathering of local farms and is demonstrating a new model to bring local food into Rochester.
In my conversation with Chris, he highlighted the wonderful benefits of what something like a local farmers’ market means, and spoke of the same ideas of “place-making” and the idea that farmers’ markets are rich in social capital…the wealth and value that each person brings who attends that market (the Regulars per “Farmers Markets as Place-making”).
There are great positives to having farmers’ markets, but Chris also pointed out the issue with farmers’ markets being inefficient. Why is this the case? The access to fresh food is limited. Traditionally local markets only run once a week and for a few hours. They are seasonal and weather dependent, and farmers travel great distances (in this case up to 100 miles) to bring fresh food to market. Even the hours they spend at market may take away from other farming duties. With the belief that farmers markets should continue to exist, Chris also stated the need to create localized food systems that would benefit the community as a whole over the long-term.
This is where the Good Food Collective excels. The Good Food Collective is a collaboration of Chris’ company, Head Water Foods Inc., and the partnership of nine other local farms. Those farms differ in their offerings but I have listed them below with a brief description and links so you may learn more about each of them.
The nine farms represented include:
Chicory Blue-featuring cut flowers, and pesticide/fertilizer-free vegetables
Clearview Farm-certified organic vegetables herbs and fruit, non-organic free range eggs
East Hill Organic Farm-organically grown vegetables, honey, apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, eggs, and hay
Fraser’s Garlic Farm– organic garlic, potatoes, leafy vegetables, root crops, edible pumpkins and certified organic eggs from free-range chickens.
Honeyhill Farm-certified organic, pasture-raised chickens & beef, vegetables and 20 tomato varieties.
Lighthouse Gardens-greenhouse grown annuals and perennials including herb and vegetable starts.
Mud Creek Farm-chemical/pesticide-free vegetables
Organic Matters Farm-Eggs from free-range hens, certified organic vegetables
Raindance Harvest-Sustainably grown transplants, mixed greens, and assorted vegetables.
Together these farms are assisting in the vision of a multi-farm CSA or Community Supported Agriculture model for the Good Food Collective. In a CSA, people buy into farms as shareholders an in return receive a share of the farms weekly harvest. This model enables the farms to receive support and money up fron,t and to benefit people with local and fresh produce (see the offerings of each farm above).
The commitment of Chris Hartman and Head Water Foods Inc. is to bring, “individual, social, economic, and ecological health to the Rochester community.”
I want to thank Chris for his commitment to bringing Rochester’s agricultural offerings to the surface, and to bringing attention to the incredible wealth that our local farms are injecting into our city. I ultimately believe that if we can continue to highlight the profound local and regional agriculture that exists around Rochester, we can become known as a world class agricultural destination.
The impact on our neighborhoods, our city, and our communities could be tremendous! Support our local farmers and support our city in becoming known for our agritourism.
On the Web:
Edible Finger Lakes Article (Chris influence on the South Wedge Farmers Market)