We’re the Shanks (Ryan, Katie and Owen). We’re family-gardeners turned farmers and Arcadia Farms is the realization of our dream to provide a living for our family while doing something healthy for our community.
In 2010 we began a journey to learn more about sustainable living. With concerns about world events, the environment and the economy at the forefront, we were looking for ways to live well in a low- or no-energy world. Our initial goal was to learn to work, bathe, heat, cool, play, drink and eat in ways that rely solely on natural, renewable resources instead of modern technology. While we remain committed to that initial goal, we began to develop new goals and passions as we learned more about the way of life that enables families to be energy independent.
For example, while I (Katie) love gardening and experiencing nature, I never expected to be inspired by the benefits of bio-diversity. Or passionate about restoring the soil and crop stability that modern, one-crop-specialization, hybrid, mass production farming traditions have stripped from our part of God’s creation. We’ve always been health conscious, and knew that “organic must be better,” but didn’t realize how much nutrition and taste we were missing out on with the alternative. And there are so many things we could share to explain why we feel a micro-farm not only provides sustainability for our family, but for the whole community.
We plan to blog about our experience and should have plenty of opportunities to share those thoughts. Meanwhile, here it is in a nutshell (or a pea pod?). We believe that the state of the world will lead to communities relying on local farmers to provide their food rather than national or international distribution systems. We also believe that relying on local farmers to provide food to their local communities is healthier; for families, for the environment and for the economy. These are things we have always been passionate about: family, community, nature, commerce. The more we learned about the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model of farming, the more we began to see how its benefits merged our passions together into one neat little package.
Our education continues and will for many years to come. While we don’t plan to give technology up completely (after all, you are connecting with us on a website) we want to have the knowledge and the systems in place to be able to function completely independent of modern electricity, fossil fuel, etc. as needed. We’ve put some of these sustainable living ideas to practice already, but nowhere have we seen them flourish more than in our family garden. Using natural, pesticide-free, intensive gardening techniques, we were able to see an incredibly ‘fruitful’ harvest. Neighbors and family members marveled at our success.
2012 was our first year operating as a CSA. As we suspected, there were both challenges and joys in our initial adventure into market gardening! (The drought of 2012 was not the least of our challenges!) We learned many lessons from our first season that will propel us into an even better season in 2013!
We are looking forward to sharing our bounty with our members. We’re also looking forward to sharing the journey with you. When you become a member, you have the opportunity to do some very special farming of your own: You’re sowing seeds that will result in a harvest of realized dreams for one very fortunate young family.