Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, April 29, 2000, Image 27

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    Community-Based Farm Brings
Farmers And Consumers Together
Lancaster Farming Staff
EPHRATA (Lancaster Co.)
Many farmers today are frus
trated by the middleman. David
and Peggy Fogarty-Harnish
found a way to avoid the mid
dleman and give Consumers
what they want for a reasonable
David and Peggy farm Scare
crow Hill Community Farm, a
22-acre farm owned by two
neighbors in Ephrata. Scare
crow Hill will be hosting an
Open Farm Tour on Saturday,
May 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Scarecrow Hill Commu
nity Farm is one of about 1,000
community-based farms in the
David and Peggy Fogarty-Harnish started the Scarecrow Hill Community Farm to give
people in the community what they wanted at a reasonable price. Currently the farm has
40 people signed up as shareholders.
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United States. Local community
members join the farm as share
holders and then enjoy fresh, or
ganically grown produce during
the 25-week harvest season.
“Basically, the community is
paying us to manage everyone’s
garden for them,” said Peggy.
“It is very different from tradi
tional farming. We ask our
members for input, and then we
plant based on what they want
to eat.”
The Scarecrow Hill Commu
nity Farm is now in its second
year of production. About five
acres of the 22-acre farm are
used for produce. But David and
Peggy are hoping to eventually
expand so that all 22 acres are in
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organic production.
“We’re not certified organic
yet,” said Peggy. “It will take
three years. During that time,
we have to do everything as if we
were certified in order to become
certified organic.”
David and Peggy use no
chemicals on the land, and they
use smaller equipment and hand
labor in order to avoid compac
tion. “There is a lot more labor
involved in organic farming,”
said Peggy. “But we don’t have
the high expenses for chemicals
and equipment.”
Organic food often costs more
in the grocery store than tradi
tionally grown food. But, ac
cording to Peggy, their food
Although organic farming is much more labor intensive
than traditional farming, David and Peggy have lower input
costs. They also have little to no debt because of the
shareholders’ investments.
costs consumers about the same
as traditional food because they
eliminate the middleman.
“Our goal is to provide local
ly-grown organic food to the
community at a reasonable
price,” said Peggy. “If you take
away the middleman, the farmer
does better and the consumer
does better.
According to Peggy, people
are drawn to a community
based farm because it is organic.
“I don’t know how well the farm
would do if it wasn’t organic.”
About 40 families have al
ready signed up as shareholders
of Scarecrow Hill Community
Farm. David and Peggy are
looking for about 35 more. The
shareholders pay a share price
in the beginning of the season,
which is personalized to their
family’s diet, income, and in
volvement in the farm.
“We don’t have to put out a
huge investment or have a lot of
debt because we can use the
shareholders’ contributions as
start-up money for each
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Lancaster Farming, Saturday, April 29, 2000-A27
season,” said Peggy.
Shareholders are also ex
pected to help on the farm for at
least 12 hours each year unless
they plan to harvest their own
“Some of them work in the
gardens, but others do adminis
tration work,” said Peggy. “We
also have some that specialize in
certain skills, such as painting or
carpentry, who use those skills
around the farm.”
Those who arc elderly or dis
abled are not required to work
on the farm. “We have many
shareholders who have health
problems who want to eat or
ganically-grown foods to help
their bodies,” said Peggy.
David and Peggy grow about
30 different vegetables, along
with fruit, herbs, and flowers, on
the Scarecrow Hill Community
“Since we grow so many dif
ferent types of crops, planting
and harvesting are somewhat
complicated,” said Peggy. “We
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