The Community Supported Agriculture Training Center at Historic Greenbank Farm on beautiful Whidbey Island, WA is seeking eight to ten new farmer-trainees for 2010. The CSA Training Center will select new trainees on a rolling admission throughout November, December and January. Selected farmer-trainees will be exposed to a diversified cropping system of fruits and vegetables on almost ten acres of organically certified land using a CSA model. Applications and information about the program can be found on the NABC website: www.AgBizCenter.org. This year, housing is also available through the Whidbey Island WISH Foundation. The WISH housing application can be found on the NABC website.
The CSA training program will begin in early February, 2010 and run through October. Farmer trainees receive a monthly stipend of $500 and a $1,000 educational award at the completion of the year for supplies, tools and or equipment needed for future farming activities. Participants in the program will be expected to work an average of 30 hours per week, with most of these hours coming during the summer growing season. Our goal will be 50 CSA shareholders.
Sebastian Aguilar from Port Townsend has been hired as the new CSA Coordinator and will begin his responsibilities in late November. Mr. Aguilar has been farming organic vegetables fulltime for the past 13 years. He and his wife, Kelly, have three children and have managed farms in New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Washington State. Sebastian’s goals of top quality produce, healthy soils, and social outreach have guided his farming practices and are an excellent match for what is being done at the Training Center at Greenbank Farm.
On the Aguilar’s farm in Port Townsend, they use minimum tillage, cover cropping, compost, and biodynamic preparations to build and maintain healthy, fertile soils. He has done seed trials for the Seed Alliance and sold produce to the Port Townsend Food Coop. Farm apprenticeships, CSA’s, youth education and community involvement have always connected Sebastian’s farm to the local community, thereby building relationships that strengthen the local food system and the awareness that supports it. Sebastian grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent summers gardening with his grandfather in France. He started farming full-time at age 20 and has been passionate about developing a model of small scale organic agriculture that is ecologically, economically, and socially healthy ever since. Having started as an apprentice, Sebastian has learned how to host apprentices of his own – striving to offer them a thorough and holistic agricultural education.
The CSA Training Center at Greenbank Farm, the first of its kind in western Washington, is an innovative community response to what is an alarming reality across our nation: the steady decrease in farmland, a food system dangerously dependent on fossil fuel, and an impersonal food chain that transports food items an average of 1,500 miles from the farm to our dining tables.
The second year of this project is made possible by a grant awarded by the USDA Farmer Market Promotion Grant and matched by the Northwest Agriculture Business Center. It brings together mentor farmers, food activists, agricultural organizations and local officials as a team growing new farmers and more food for direct distribution to consumers.
For application materials, a CSA brochure, or more information, visit the NABC website at www.agbizcenter.org, or contact CSA Project Director, Maryon Attwood at 360-336-3727 or CSA Coordinator, Sebastian Aguilar after November 23rd at the CSA Training Center Office: 360-222-3171.