In the beginning...
Peter and Bernadette began farming at Springdale Farm in 1988 with a few tools, a few hundred dollars, 45 subscribers, an 8-month baby, and a tremendous amount of energy and passion for growing beautiful, organic produce. And now, 35 years later, they serve 700 members while also distributing organic veggies to area coops, stores, and restaurants.
What is the Farm's goal and how does it operate?
Springdale Farm’s goal is to provide, for seven months, approximately 700 southeast Wisconsin households with a variety of fresh produce and eggs. The households become members, or ‘shareholders’ of the farm by contributing a portion of the farm’s operating budget, and the farm in return does its best to produce the tastiest and most nutritious vegetables and fruits possible. Shareholders can develop a meaningful relationship with ‘their’ local farm, while the farm is assured of a local, supportive community with which to share its bounty, and can, furthermore, concentrate on treating the soil and the land in the most environmentally-sound fashion. The shareholders thus share directly with the farm the responsibilities of the long-term care of the soil, and the quality of our food.
What methods does the farm use in producing vegetables?
During the last half century agriculture has become ‘addicted’ to chemicals, fossil fuels, and soil-depleting practices, all of which threaten our health, our future generations, and our ecosystems. Fortunately, there are both old-fashioned and cutting-edge practices that we utilize to ensure the long-term preservation, and natural fertility, of the soil, allowing us to totally avoid the use of chemical inputs that most farms have come to rely on. Such practices include cover cropping, interseeding, mulching, crop rotating and adding compost, minerals and microbial inoculants. To learn more about how to naturally enhance the health of our soil and plants we also conduct many on-farm trials and experiments, research that conventional agribusiness and government agencies neglect in favor of research in biotechnology and chemical inputs. Items included in the shares that are raised on other farms (such as mushrooms, cranberries, and eggs) are all raised organically and to Springdale Farm standards.