The farmers use biodynamic practices based on the spiritual insights of the Austrian scientist-philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) Biodynamics treats the soil as a living organism. It strives to build the soil and correct imbalances through the use of dynamic preparations prescribed by Steiner. They are used directly on the soil, on maturing plants, in the treatment of fungal diseases and insect infestations and in the making of compost. Sound organic practices are also employed using diverse cover crops, calculated crop rotations and careful tillage. Chemical pesticides are not used and we rarely need to implement organic pest control. The care and attention the gardeners bring to their work stimulate the health and energy of the community’s food.
The CSG at Genesis Farm was established in 1988. The founding members were deeply concerned about safety issues around pesticide use. While their own lifestyles did not allow them to raise their own food, they responded positively to the initiative of a Community Supported Garden (CSG) at Genesis Farm and were willing to pre-buy their food in this creative new venture.
The majority of work is done by a small team of farmers. The support of the farmers, all of the operating costs, and the capital improvements are carried by the shareholder community. All of the abundance of the food is divided among the shareholders. Food left over after distribution hours is given to local food pantries. The farm is working toward removing itself from the inequities, injustices and ecological devastation of the present market system. It is a social as well as an economic alternative.
At present, the CSG uses approximately 51 acres of land through a 50-year lease with the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey, who have protected the land through farmland preservation. An adjacent 72 acres was bequeathed in 2008 by Chan Moore, a founding CSG member. Over 20 acres are in cultivation with vegetables and berries. There are three greenhouses that extend the growing season and provide some fresh salad greens over the winter months. In addition, there is a 256-tree orchard and hardy kiwi vines.
The construction of a centrally located Gardenhouse, with root cellars and a distribution space has enabled the farm to provide food throughout the entire year. This building reflects the kind of commitment that results from such a community-based project. Two-thirds of its funding was provided by shareholders, either as gifts or as low or no-interest loans. The remaining third was raised through the capital fund included in each year’s share price and most of the labor was done as a community activity.