Farming Philosophy

We are passionate believers in the value of CSA for both farmers and consumers.  This rapidly growing movement offers lots of hope for farmers to gain better marketing options for their products and for consumers to gain access to healthier locally grown food.  Perhaps one of the greater values of CSA is its potential to strengthen local communities by encouraging farmers to relate more closely to their customers and for their customers and their children to make stronger connections to the source of their food.

fruit-box-produceCommunity Supported Agriculture, in it’s simplest form, works much like any subscription service which most of us already use regularly, for example a newspaper or magazine.  The CSA customer pays the farmer an agreed upon amount of money (the subscription price) before the yearly growing season begins, and gets a box or bag of the farmers products at regular intervals for a specified period of time (the duration of the subscription) which usually is delivered to a central pickup location and expires at the end of the growing season.  Just as the contents of a newspaper or magazine can vary from week to week, so also can the contents of a CSA subscription vary as crops are planted, grown, and matured during the growing season. Though any CSA membership works                                                      much like a subscription and is sometimes called                                                          that, it can be much more.

CSA membership provides a unique way for you and the farmer to relate closely. You benefit by getting fresher food and usually at a better price than can be found at health food stores carrying organically grown produce.  CSA farmers and consumers can benefit mutually from the social contact and positive relationships that often develop as they work together.  CSA farmers usually encourage their customers to visit the farm (and bring children along) at least occasionally in order to see first hand how the farmer grows their food. The money paid for CSA membership goes directly to the farmer instead of to a string of wholesalers, shippers, processors, and retailers (middlemen) who usually capture most of the food buyer’s dollar, leaving little for the farmer.  The farmer benefits by getting paid early in the growing season, and by getting more for his product than he would if he sold his product as a commodity through conventional marketing channels.  

Glen Eco Farm is a small diversified farm where we strive to follow sound ecological principles based on the concept of “sustainability” as we cultivate market gardens and care for poultry and livestock.  For the upcoming 2020 growing season we plan to have approximately 3 acres in diversified vegetable and small fruit production, and 100-150 egg laying chickens.  We practice crop rotation, mulching, and the application of manures and composts to maintain soil fertility.  We rely primarily on beneficial predatory insects, biologically produced pesticides, and wintertime pasturing of chickens on garden areas to control (but not eradicate) insect pests and plant diseases. We may use an antibiotic to treat the occasional acutely sick animal, or apply a small amount of chemical insecticide to heavily infested young plantings of some crops, or a herbicide as spot treatment for the most persistent perennial weeds (usually in fencerows or along field borders), but we use these things sparingly, carefully, and only as a last resort. We never apply chemical sprays close to harvest or in any way that poses risk of contamination of food or the environment. If a biological or organic fertilizer or pest control product is available and cost effective, we prefer to use it as an alternative to conventional products.

We believe in God as the creator and sustainer of everything in the natural realm and see ourselves as the caretakers and stewards of that small part of that natural realm (our farm) entrusted to us, a sacred responsibility.  We regularly seek God’s guidance and grace as we go about the task of attending conferences and other educational events in order to broaden our knowledge about sustainable agriculture, managing and working our farm, and relating to those people with whom we associate and who are nourished by our farm’s products. We are long time members of Virginia Association for Biological Farming.

                                                Marlin & Christine Burkholder