You can’t celebrate Earth Month and #22DaysofAction without acknowledging all the work from local farmers. Today we share the spotlight with Rock Steady Farm.
Rock Steady is a queer-owned and operated cooperative vegetable farm rooted in social justice, food access and farmer training. In addition to their sustainable farming practices, they are working to increase equity in the food system and creating safer spaces for queer and BIPOC farmers to thrive. Ready to learn more?
Hi everyone! Maggie Cheney (they/them) from Rock Steady here! Thank you so much to S’well for inviting me for a quick Q&A. I can’t wait to dive in and answer your questions.
- What is a CSA? How does it work?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct partnership between farmers and their community. People can become a “member” of the farm by buying a “share” of the seasonal harvest before the growing season begins. When the veggies are ready, the weekly shares (boxes) are filled with veggies and delivered every week. Supporting farms directly is a radical way to spend your dollars and ensure that you know where your food comes from.
- Why was it important for you to create a queer-owned farming venture?
As queer farmers, Rock Steady desires to have deep connections with all people in our community, but especially with our queer community. We want as many queer people eating fresh local produce as possible. Many queer and trans people suffer from food insecurity, and one of our missions is to address that need. That is why our sliding scale and food access fund is so important. 65% of all our food goes to our lower income community.
Also, being a queer owned and operated farm provides the opportunity for visibility for other rural queers. #RepresentationMatters. We are incredibly lucky to be out in such a rural space, but thousands of other farmers out there still do not feel safe doing so. Our hope is that more and more queer farmers feel comfortable in their communities to be who they are openly.
- How can local CSAs help combat climate change?
Buying from a local CSA makes it possible to understand local growing practices better. Members can get to know their farmer, ask questions and often visit the farm to know if the food they are eating is actually grown sustainably, without chemicals and pesticides.
Also, by buying local, there are less food miles and therefore less carbon emission. Our CSA also aggregates local eggs, meat and fruit and supports sustainable farming practices beyond just veggies. When it comes to comparing our local CSA to fruit from South America, this is very impactful.
- What’s a typical day like?
We have an incredible team of 10 that serves our 500-person CSA. Each person has a different focus area on the farm. That said, during the harvest season (June through November), we get to the farm at 6:45am, start harvesting around 7am, and then break for lunch around 12pm. Then, we start back up at 1pm for field work, weeding, planting and packing out the produce, and wrap up the day around 4pm. Often we also have ongoing programs like our Queer and Trans Training program that runs along side the farming. So there is a lot going on site during any given day!
- How can we learn more and help out?
Follow us on Instagram at @RockSteadyFarm or our website, and don’t forget to join our mailing list. You can also donate directly via our website to our Queer and Trans Farmer Training Programs and Food Access Fund!