Old Bethpage, L.I.—It’s called the Restoration Farm.
And it encompasses several acres of the Old Bethpage Restoration Village, a living history museum, that’s located in Nassau County.
Caroline Fanning and Daniel Holmes founded the farm back in 2007.
They first met while working on a CSA at college.
“After I graduated, I was working for a nonprofit in Manhattan. It was fulfilling, but i didn’t’ like the desk job. I wanted to be back outside, so my husband and I reconnected, and that’s how I got my toe back into farming,” Fanning said.
The couple submitted a proposal for an organic farm and were approved.
11 years later, the Restoration Farm is in full bloom, serving 200 families, in addition to a farm stand that’s open to the public.
“The CSA concept goes back over two decades to Japan, actually, when communities were concerned that farmers were leaving for better job opportunities in the city. So people figured, if we found a way to guarantee the farmer a market, maybe we could get the farmers to stay,” Fanning explained.
So families buy into the Community Supported Agriculture at the beginning of a season.
They pay all their money up front, and the farmer now has guaranteed funds.
“They don’t have to worry about taking out a loan to buy their seeds, their supplies, the payroll. It provides security in an industry that is otherwise very unsecure,” Fanning said.
The families then come weekly or bi-weekly, depending on their share, to pick up their portion of the crops.
Valerie Eagen’s been a member since the beginning.
“When I come for pick up, I’m always hanging around, picking flowers, picking vegetables. Kids get to see where the vegetables come from, they get to see there are chickens here that lay eggs. So it’s much more than just picking up vegetables,” Eagen said.
“We like to think of ourselves as a good alternative to the Amazon effect. You know, when everything can be delivered to your doorstep, what reason do you have to ever leave your house,” Fanning asked.
And for Fanning, who plans to continue to grow really good, quality food, this labor of love has become a family affair.
“I can’t imagine anything being as fulfilling. I mean, I have my kids and my family with me here all the time. I don’t know what else I’d do,”
For more on how to join Restoration Farm, click here.