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This year marks the fourth year that John and Lisa Finley have been operating the Community Farm across from Tooby Park. Lisa Finley says that every year it’s gotten a little better.

”We’re learning how to work with this land and in this climate,” she says. “We lease the land and the house from the Community Park board and operate it as a farm and also as a community project. We’re financially independent of the park. They don’t support us financially, but they support what we are doing very much. And the past few years, we have broken even on the finances.”

To interest more folks in farming and local food production, the Finleys are hosting an Open House at the farm on Saturday mornings between now and May. In exchange for working with John and Lisa doing the seasonal chores, participants can learn more about growing food and take home a helping of fresh produce.

”Right now,” Lisa says, “we will be sowing seed and transplanting. People can come and help us, pick up some pointers and take away a helping of whatever is growing in the field.”

It’s a chance to learn about the many techniques of gardening and earn your salad fixings at the same time.

In the field greenhouse, Lisa already has flats of lettuces, broccoli and kale that will be ready for planting fairly soon, she says. She doesn’t expect any killing frosts, she says, and the plants she’ll be putting out are tolerant of light frosts.

This, of course, means that the farm will have fresh produce to offer before the Farmer’s Markets start up in June. In fact, she says, they have been selling fresh produce to local markets throughout the winter, thanks to their winter crops of chard, cauliflower, and kale.

The Finleys are also selling shares of the farm. Community Supported Agriculture is an important component of sustainable local agriculture.

”CSA is a way for people to be involved with the farm by subscribing to it,” Lisa says. “With a subscription comes a weekly share of whatever we produce. A full subscription is enough produce to feed a family of four. In the spring, it’s greens, in the summer we get into sweet corn, squashes and tomatoes, and later on it’s pumpkins and then we go back to greens in the fall.”

Half shares for small families are also available, and people also can share a share with a friend or neighbor. Buying a share won’t deprive the dedicated vegetable lover of the joy of attending the weekly Friday Farmers’ Market in Garberville, either, since this year share holders will be able to pick up their box of produce at the market. Or share holders can pick up their produce at the farm on Thursdays, and still go to the market.

Pickups for share holders begin the first Friday of June and last until the market ends in October.

This year, as well as the usual vegetables, share holders will also get cut flowers from the flower patch and fresh herbs from the herb garden. Watermelons will be grown this year and the cooperative potato patch is also happening.

Renting your own plot and planting your own garden is also a possibility at the farm. Lisa says that a few people have already signed on for that. The only requirement is to practice organic methods and control weeds, she says.

For more information on purchasing a share in the Community Garden, contact John or Lisa Finley at 707-223-4996, or better yet, show up Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and get a hands-on experience of growing food.

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