Colchester Farm Community Supported Agriculture                                                               Page 2
2005 Annual Report

Washington College students learning about Colchester Farm CSA.

Washington College students learning about Colchester Farm CSA with Farm Manager Andy Andrews.

Learning at Colchester Farm

We learn a lot at Colchester Farm, all of us. This year we had four groups from Washington College who came to find out about CSA's and U.S. farm policy and organic farming. We hosted two groups of adults from the Academy of Lifelong Learning, a class of Wayne Bell’s students from his course Sustainable Community Development (Env 399), and a Freshman orientation group in the fall who worked hard in the fields in exchange for a seminar on Delmarva farming. During the summer our interns participated in seminars on non-profit management, U.S. farm policy, and a seed-saving workshop at Pennypack Farm in Pennsylvania sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Theresa, Charlotte, and Andy all attended the annual Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) conference to learn about other CSA's experience. In September we had Annette Merridith out from the University of Maryland to explain her research on the positive effects of bees in organic fields (the kids loved running around with butterfly nets catching all sorts of flying things). On July 4th we offered farm tours to the visiting public, including friends and competitors from other Kent County farms. And back by popular demand, Wayne Bell hosted a fabulous migratory bird walk in the spring. We are planning more, new, and innovative offerings for the 2006 season.


The Farm Grows with the Community


On-Farm Research

We had three research projects going on at the farm this year.

If you visited the farm (maybe taking part in our late fall gleaning of carrots and Brussels sprouts?), you may have noticed row after row of daikon radishes growing in the fields. This is the second year of Dr. Ray Weil's research at Colchester testing the affects of these radishes on soil compaction and suppression of weeds, nematodes and certain plant diseases. Dr. Weil, who is a soil scientist at the University of Maryland, is also measuring the ability of the radishes to capture excess nitrogen left in the soil at the end of the growing season. You can find out more about Ray's work at www.futureharvestcasa.org and www.newfarm.org.

Do you remember those bundles of edamame? The seed for those soybeans was developed by Dr. Thomas Devine, a research geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. This season we had the opportunity to sample four different varieties of vegetable soybeans he has developed. Dr. Devine describes his work on the web at www.ars.usda.gov.

Annette Meredith, a University of Maryland graduate student, has chosen our farm to study "Promoting Pollinators on Maryland's Working Landscape" funded by a Partnership Grant from the Northeast Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE). She is investigating the current status of honeybees on 12 CSA farms in MD, PA, and WV. This data will serve as a baseline used to measure future changes in the bee population. She is also examining the habitat adjacent to production areas and its influence on pollinator presence. Near the end of the summer, Annette gave a "bug talk" at a family farm day, describing her research project and the pollinators she had found over the summer. Annette can be contacted at Meredith@mdsq.umd.edu.

 


Sharing Our Abundance

This year CFCSA donated vegetables to a variety of charitable organizations including Meeting Ground, a residential homeless shelter in Cecil County, the Kent Family Center in Chestertown, and Bread for the City in Washington, D.C. At Thanksgiving we helped fill 35 holiday food baskets at St. Dennis Church in Galena, (a special thank you to CSA member Nancy Bricker for making this connection and to Lee Bennington at the Church for working with us on this).


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Colchester Farm | P.O. Box 191 | Georgetown MD 21930 | (at 31285 Georgetown Cemetery Rd)
 
Updated February 5, 2011