Local agroecology and a winter CSA

April 28, 2022

Posted in: News Articles

Through our Agricultural Support and Protection (ASAP) Emergency Matching Grant program, we’ve been supporting Red H Farm over the last year and a half as they adapted to the pandemic. Red H Farm, which was founded by Caiti Hachmyer in 2009, is a 1.2-acre agroecological farm located outside of the town of Sebastopol. As they note, the farm operates on the unceded territory of the Coast Miwok. Red H has been operating for 12 seasons, and grows a diverse plethora of vegetables. 

As the pandemic began, we recognized there was immediate need within our agricultural community to alleviate some of the burdens experienced by farms and ranches due to restaurant and business closures, decreased demand for products, and labor shortages, among other challenges. Through the one-time ASAP program, our Board ultimately approved grants for nine projects, including Red H Farm. 

Red H Farm is grounded in the agroecological ethics of enhancing soil health, conserving water, fostering biodiversity, cultivating community, and building equity. As explained by the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, agroecology is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems.

With support from the ASAP Program, Caiti was able to continue operating her farm and install a well – a long-term investment in productivity. Red H Farm’s new well will also allow the farm to adapt to the climate, now and in the future. Caiti also adjusted her business strategy to help fill a gap in the local CSA (community-supported agriculture) market by developing a winter produce program. Many CSAs run during peak spring and summer seasons, but during the pandemic and related Health Orders, it became all the more important for us all to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. 

Caiti is also a leader in farmer-to-farmer mentorship.  Caiti founded “Celebrating Women’s Leadership in Food” in 2016, and Red H Farm hosts the annual Celebrating Women’s Leadership in Food conference. She has also worked with the Bay Area Farmer-to-Farmer Training and Farm School. Caiti is dedicated to making Red H Farm “a space for women and gender non-binary farmers from around California to gather, share resources and build community.”

Partnering with Red H Farm and others throughout the pandemic has been an exciting opportunity for us to better support a diverse range of local agricultural operations, and to support the mentorship of future local food leaders.