Building Community: NJ Young Farmers and Food-preneurs Do More Together
Get a look at how small scale farming breaks down to create thriving communities starting with why Coeur et Sol is continuously evolving into a collaborative and cooperative mindset. Read below to see how your support and investment as a customer furthers our mission by helping us plant seeds of growth and expansion and read about the marketing and business challenges small farmers face unique to our craft— the production of perishable and living foods.
Starting with Why
When I started planning my urban farm business I recognized the importance of community. Urban farming felt uniquely isolating, and I learned quickly that many other young farmers share the same sentiment. Whether urban, suburban or rural the need for a supportive agri-business community in Northern New Jersey proved to be a gap and I quickly became interested in building bridges.
Many producers that I have connected with in this first year of farming have expressed some level of struggle with accessing consistent and sustainable market channels. My desire for community among these amazingly passionate, small-scale farmers lead me to develop this concept for a collaborative approach. The result is creating accessible food channels directly to consumer (You!) punctuated by the overall desire to maximize profits for the growers and makers themselves.
Starting a farming business, urban or not urban, is a challenging endeavor. It takes everything a person has and then still asks for more. No amount of traditional education, YouTube videos, or books can truly prepare an agricultural entrepreneur for the mental and physical stresses that happen in their first seasons of growing.
It is one thing to sell a product. It is another thing entirely to literally start that product as just a seed in the ground. Those seeds grow up to be a product that is at risk of diseases, pests, weather fluctuations, and constant observation and upkeep. Then, if the product is raised to completion it must be properly harvested, stored, and in some cases processed. All of this happens before many guarantees of sales or compensation Our Multi-Farm CSA sales are a way to mitigate this risk. Even if there is a healthy harvest, the product must be sold within a very limited window of time. Small scale producers are at a disadvantage in this sense, because quantity is as much a fluctuation as everything else. A farmer does not get to choose which crops will thrive, and which ones will not. Plants do not listen to market trends, or grow better based on what the consumer wants now.
Urban farming has received a lot of cultural attention since Coeur et Sol sowed its first seeds. Questions of its future, place, and purpose in our society are common within the farming community, as well as in local and global political discourse. Urban farming in Essex County, New Jersey is not separate from the entire agricultural community in the state of New Jersey, or globally otherwise. This season has proved that when urban, suburban, and rural producers strategically align the strengths and advantages of their individual geographical settings, they can create something beautiful. It is a delicate balance playing off of the urban farm’s direct access to communities far removed from the rural communities that can and do produce the majority of the diverse fruits, vegetables and goods in our state.
The development of our Urban Homestead Box and 2019 Multi-Farm CSA were born from the desire to begin building a model that benefits both the farmer and the consumer. Our goal is to be Where Urban Meets Rural™ .
You can support this mission today by signing up for our Urban Homestead Box. Choose from hyperlocal products such as microgreens, eggs, bread, bouquets, cold-pressed juices, granola, tea & herbs, vegan cheese and mushrooms.