Happy Hollow Farm, Missouri
Liz Graznak, owner of Happy Hollow Farm, explains that community supported agriculture is her way of being a political force. Her CSA members participate on the farm through distribution shifts and farm work days. Their CSA shares are already full for the 2020 spring-summer season, but be sure to check their website for winter shares!
Know Your Farmer | Happy Hollow Farm, Missouri
Liz Graznak: I love growing things. I love feeding people. I love the community that exists around my CSA – the community of people who support my world.
Organic Farming at Happy Hollow Farm, Missouri
My wife and I have Happy Hollow Farm. This is my eighth year farming full-time. We are certified organic and located in Jamestown, Missouri, which is about 45 minutes outside of Columbia.
Columbia is my main marketing area. I do have a few local customers who live out here and shop with us. But mostly, I go to Columbia and sell via CSA, a local farmer's market, some local restaurants, as well as to a Natural Grocers, which is a pretty good-sized grocery store in Columbia.
Being a Political Force Through Community Supported Agriculture
All of my CSA members participate. I have a work requirement. All members per share are required to do two 4-hour farm work shifts and two 2.5-hour distribution shifts.
CSA is my way of being a political force in the world. I'm never going to run for office, but I have a direct connection with my customers. Many of my members have been members since I started farming, and so I've been watching their kids grow up. They've watched my little girl grow up. And that's fabulous.
Small Farm, Big Impact
The main motivation for certifying when I first started farming was maybe was twofold. It was me in my tiny little world of being a small-scale farmer feeling that my voice makes a difference. I also felt that we should all be certified because I think that the grander, bigger world of the consumer just doesn't understand what “organic” really is. There should be more of us growing organically so that more people start to appreciate this way of farming.
Unfortunately, there aren't any more certified organic growers in my area than there were eight years ago when I first started. There are more smaller growers, but nobody is certifying.
Farming Methods that Customers Can Trust
In the consumer world (certainly in Natural Grocers, restaurants, and my wholesale vegetables) being certified organic matters. People view it as an important distinction between me and the other growers. They believe that if I am growing organically, I'm following the practices that I say that I'm using.
I know that there are a lot of issues in the organic world right now, but I do not think that the general public knows that, understands that, or has any idea that those things are going on. Regardless, it is important that my customers know the practices that I am using in farming, and that they can trust the things that I'm saying about those practices.