Dear Friends and Customers of Many Hands Organic Farm,

Wow, there are only four weeks until the summer CSA begins! We are busy making preparations for it to be an amazing harvest. The CSA is where we make the majority of our income to support our large staff and the unrelenting bills for inputs of fertility, feed for animals, repairs (the tractor is sporting a new exhaust system and stack thanks to Dave this week), etc., etc. CSA sales are now at $36,516.61 and we are 44% of our goal. We have been making about 5% of our goal each week, thanks to the generosity and investment of you all. Unfortunately, at this rate we will not raise the $83,000 we need. In the last four weeks of the CSA, we are aiming to raise $10,000 per week – and we need your help!

Giveaway to Reach our CSA Goal
Our customers are continuously the ones who bring in the most new folks to our CSA. To thank you all for the hard work you are doing and to support our goal of $10,000 per week for the next four weeks, we will be doing a giveaway! For every friend that you recommend the CSA to who signs up between now and May 24th, you will earn a ticket to our drawing. First prize is a tin of our comfrey salve, homemade soap, and a yellow dock tincture (amazing for the liver). Second prize includes our amazing hemp salve and our homemade peppermint soap, and third prize is a bottle of our dandelion root tincture (to support gut health). To enter, email the name of the friend that you recommended who has signed up between now and May 24th, or have your friend mention you in their order form. Prizes will be available when you pick up your CSA.

To help you spread the word, check out our shareable Facebook postInstagram post, or spread the word to your neighbors on Nextdoor. Feel free to share with newsletters of church groups, bands, or otherwise! We also have paper flyers that we can send you – just ask. Stay tuned to our newsletter and social media as we count down to the CSA! Thanks again for your continued investment in our farm, and for your help in reaching our goal.

First (top), second (left) and third (right) prize for our giveaway

The Mantle of the Non-Conformist
As in your life, I am sure, the word covid comes up at least once per day here, and has since the beginning of March 2020. Except during international wartime, I wonder if any experience has so crowded the world’s consciousness as this experience. I have tried to stay (relatively) quiet about how I come down on this one, but perhaps it is time to come out of the closet. I talked to two people on Friday who are now dealing with negative impacts of the vaccine, and it is heartbreaking to say the least.
I am an organic farmer because I believe that nature should and does have the upper hand in the long run, if not the short run. When that comes to growing crops it means to me a reminder to work within and under the aegis of the natural process – one of great diversity,  competition and collaboration of members of the natural world, whether they be microbes, plants or animals. It is about balance, and nature is always seeking balance.
Working with nature, I feel, means being a student of natural processes and careful observer of all of the signs and secrets that are there for us to learn from, if we only take a minute to move out of our human arrogance.
Understanding the several thousand year jump that little viruses have on us evolutionarily speaking, and learning how to work with them instead of against them, is in my mind, where we could be putting the trillions of dollars that we are now spending on inadequately tested vaccines that are just now starting to show their ugly side effects.
No, I am not going to take the vaccine at this time, and time will only tell if I am to have to choose between travel, public accommodations, receiving my Social Security check, seeing my children and grandchildren or even being able to legally run this farm with Jack, and being vaccinated in the future. Meanwhile I am banking on nature to help me figure out how to stay healthy, how to help impart health to our farm staff and volunteers, community and customers. As more information becomes available for how to ameliorate the negative consequences of vaccine injury, I will share it here, and I will continue to share my own practices, observations, and research on how to stay healthy as I have learned it. We are all facing difficult decisions about our personal health right now, and each choice is highly individual after weighing alternatives. By all means, let’s help each other through this difficult period, respecting personal decisions, regardless of our own preferences for the best way to address the question of whether to vaccinate or not.

Maple Bacon – back again by popular request!
New item this year, back by popular request! Maple bacon is $16/lb, smoked at Vermont Packing House in Springfield, VT and made using a natural cure of celery juice, sea salt and maple syrup. Will be available mid to late December. Although the pork is certified organic, the maple bacon processing has not been organically certified. Pre-order along with all of your pork today!

Next Workshop – Starting seeds and seedlings in greenhouse and field – Saturday, May 8 – 10-12
Clare and I are eager to share our years of mistakes and improvements regarding the process of getting seeds to seedlings and then into the ground. This is the most important time in a plant’s life and we all should take this period super seriously if we expect bounty at the other end. We will be sharing our timing plans, our fertility plans, our use of the biodynamic calendar, and all in a hands on and hand out fashion. Stick around for a pot luck lunch at the conclusion.
Register here.

Planting 12 beds on Wednesday (bottom left), our seedlings (bottom right)

Consider supporting a low income individual to purchase a CSA share
We are receiving generous support for this initiative. We have a policy of not charging SNAP CSA customers for delivery, a $44 item for the season. We have been blessed with a burgeoning number of SNAP folks this year and wonder if anyone of you would be interested in helping us defray the cost of the deliveries. You can donate here through the Many Hands Sustainability Center. Please send an email to to have your funds be counted toward the SNAP recipient fund. Thanks for your continued support.

Cardboard and tarp update
This week we were able to remove two tarps from the pond field (32’ x 100’) and reset them in the west field where we have a lot of cover crops (mostly rye) coming back. I am almost giddy with how well tarping (despite hours of having to put them back down again in this windier than ever remembered year). Wednesday we were able to knock out 11 beds and get them planted with kale and collards, and with the help of a huge 12 person crew. Not using a tractor and not knocking ourselves out with hand tools is a joy only an aspiring no till farmer or gardener can fully appreciate. Yes, keep the cardboard coming. Almost finished our blueberry and grape plantation across the street in the annex this week and still some perennial fruits to go. Now we have to find some more chips as we exhausted our 7 10 wheeler truck loads this week.

Christine Jones talks over
Jack and I thoroughly enjoyed these talks that Christine gave to the folks at Green Cover Seeds. If you missed them you can catch them all here – and learn more about the phosphorous, nitrogen and carbon cycle, and be reminded that diversity above and below ground (and of course in our gut) is the name of the health giving game – for plants, planet and people. We will have to look for another way to spend our Tuesday evenings.

Staff Update
The Stetson staff member Vicki that brought Krischaun to work on Saturday noted that she felt that Krischaun was now more centered and happy than she. Maria stopped by to pick up her NOFA bulk order on Friday and signed on to become a working shareholder. Cathleen and I started our individualized staff check ins on these quite interesting questions posited by Buckingham and Coffman in “First, Break All the Rules” for managers of people to gauge their successfulness and running a functional organization. My latest exciting book on leadership.
Do I know what is expected of me at work?
Do I have the equipment and materials I need to do my work right?
At work do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
In the last seven days have I received recognition or praise for dong good work?
Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
At work do my opinions seem to count?
Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
Do I have a best friend at work?
In the last six months has someone talked to me about my progress?
This last year at work have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

Food for thought. Now, we will double down this week to grow more of that food for body – hoping to get in a bunch more greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, radishes, cilantro, turnips, get more of our perennial fruits pruned (must finish grapes this week and blueberries), and get the cart rebuilt (Anthony’s project this week).

Remay over newly plated seedlings (top), Maya and the crew planting onion sets (bottom left), Anthony planting seedlings (bottom right)

Enjoy what promises to be a beautiful week.


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