frequently asked questions
Are you organic?
We do our best to grow as organically as possible. We would never use toxic pesticides like Round-Up, for example, and we use organic fertilizers and compost. We also strive to be good stewards of the land by doing things like building up the organic matter in our soil, being pollinator-friendly, and rotating our crops. We are not, however, pursuing official organic certification at this time. The certification process is expensive and takes several years. While it's possible that we will have the time and money to pursue organic certification at some point in the future, right now we are focusing our limited resources on just getting the farm up and running.
Is your soil safe to grow in?
Yes. At the very beginning of this process we sent soil samples to Penn State's Agricultural Services department to be tested. In addition to the standard testing they do, we paid extra to have our soil tested for lead and heavy metals. Everything came back well within the recommended ranges for safe food production.
are you a non-profit? is this a community garden?
No. This is a business. We absolutely consider it "social entrepreneurism," in that profit is not our sole motivation: we really are working to help alleviate fresh food access issues in our community, and we are hopefully making Erie a cooler, better place to live in the process. We did consider making the farm a non-profit. But at the end of the day, we decided the best course for the farm is to be a self-sustaining business, covering our own costs via the revenue we generate selling our produce. If we were a non-profit we would have to spend a lot of time and energy seeking grant money and donations every single year, just to keep the operation going. We would rather spend our time and energy growing Erie as much awesome, local produce as possible.
Are you a store? Exactly where are you located?
We do not have a storefront at this time and won't for the foreseeable future, maybe never. We are a working urban farm, located on a number of parcels of land in the vicinity of E. 22nd and French Streets in the city of Erie. We will NOT be selling our produce to the general public at the physical farm itself. In fact, we are not allowed to and would have to pay for a zoning variance in order to sell on-site. To sell our produce, we will be setting up pop-up market stands at various locations throughout the city, every week, all summer long. Please check out our market schedule page for information about where we will be setting up to sell. That page will be updated very regularly as events get added. We will also always announce on our social media accounts where we are setting up to sell, and what kinds of in-season things we have for sale on any given week.
Why don't you have tomatoes in june?
We believe very strongly in the principles of eating seasonally, and we are also a real farm, growing everything we sell ourselves, right here in Erie. People have become accustomed to buying anything they want, all year long from large grocery stores, but much of that stuff is very out of season and had to be imported from thousands of miles away. It was also picked prematurely so that it could be shipped so far, and as a result it often lacks flavor. We will be selling real spring vegetables in the spring time - things like peas and spinach and radishes and lettuce and other greens. Our selection will increase as the season progresses. We anticipate having some of our earliest tomatoes by the end of July, but it isn't until August and September and October that we will have LOTS of tomatoes and peppers for you to choose from. We are confident that the taste and freshness of our constantly-changing selection of locally-grown produce will convince you of the merits of seasonal eating.
Are you hiring?
Not at the moment, but we plan to in the future. When we are ready to start hiring, the job announcements will be posted on this website and on our social media accounts. It's very possible that this will not be until Year 2 or Year 3.
Can i just help you farm? This sounds fun and i'll do it for free!
We appreciate your enthusiasm, and you're right: this is fun! But right now the single best thing you can do to help the farm is be our customer. Please consider supporting the farm by buying a CSA share, or buying gift certificates to be redeemed at any of our market stands over the course of the growing season. We are not looking for volunteer help from the general public at this time. Should we launch a formal volunteer program in the future, it will be announced on this website and on our social media accounts.
Can my son/daUGHTER/GRANDSON/GRANDDAUGHTER HELP YOU FARM?
Please see our answer to the prior question. We are not looking for volunteer help from the general public at this time. Should we launch a formal volunteer program in the future, it will be announced on this website and on our social media accounts.
But can my son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter earn their service hours volunteering for you?
We are not looking for volunteer help from the general public at this time, service hours or not. Should we launch a formal volunteer program in the future, it will be announced on this website and on our social media accounts.