***UPDATE MARCH 2013:
Howdy Farm is now accepting applications for the Spring CSA program. Apply now through March 29 by noon at http://tamuhowdyfarm.weebly.com/. This season membership is limited to 25 participants. To ensure fairness, membership will be determined through a lottery-style drawing. Visit http://tamuhowdyfarm.weebly.com/ to submit your application along with a $5 entry fee. All applicants will receive a window decal with The Howdy Farm logo on it as a thank you. Notification of membership status will be sent out via email on March 29th at 5:00.
“Eat your vegetables” is good advice. “Eat your vegetables from a volunteer, student-run farm cooperative” is good advice seasoned with a touch of local flavor and fortified with sense of higher purpose. The Howdy Farm on the Texas A&M University campus was started in the fall of 2009 by horticulture student Brady Grimes who wanted more hands-on experience for what he was learning in his classes, according to Howdy Farm Co-manager Lindy Reese. So Grimes started a small garden, and after producing way too many vegetables that first fall, he turned to University Dining Services who agreed to partner with the student-run business.
The relationship grew along with the vegetables eventually leading Grimes to apply for a grant from the Aggie Green Fund, which funnels money into projects that make the Texas A&M campus more eco-friendly. Grimes’ wish was granted and the grant enabled him to buy a variety of farm supplies. Experience proved to be the best teacher and what started as a small plot grew to into a farm – the Howdy Farm. In the spring of 2012, the farm received an additional $96,000 grant from the Aggie Green Fund, which Reese says will be used to build a sustainable greenhouse teaching facility.
“We want to bring in more classes,” says Reese, “not just the Ag school” but different colleges, too. Geography and community health classes have already used Howdy Farm as a outdoor classroom. Most of Howdy Farm workers are volunteers, and Reese, an English major, notes that more than half are not
studying Ag-related subjects.
Currently at around five acres, the Howdy Farm provides vegetables to the University Dining Services, University Club, farmers markets in Bryan and Houston, and the community. According to Reese, Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is like a co-op where individuals and families in the area can buy a share of the farm for the growing season. At $20 per week for 10 weeks, the share provides vegetables for an average family of four, which are picked up weekly.
“Basically if you can think of a vegetable, we’ll be growing it,” says Reese. From melons to cauliflower to onions – or to vegetables you may not even have heard of – participants in the CSA
can fill their bellies with nutritious veggies and have a good time while doing it.
Howdy Farm is accepting applications in August for a fall Farm Share and expects to
accept around 70 people. The money is paid up front in full.
“Having the money up front is really beneficial for farmers to be able to pay for the cost,” says Reese. Participants receive a really fresh variety of produce, and get to know other members of the community with similar interests. As a bonus, they get a friendly “Howdy!” with those veggies.
Howdy Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture
Applications accepted in August
Howdy Farm is located on the West Campus of Texas A&M university, off University Drive near Research Park
Sign up in August for a 10-week Farm Share of fresh produce, which is picked up weekly beginning in September. Applications will be available on the Howdy Farm blog and Facebook, and can be sent to individuals upon email request.
CSA’s are first come, first serve. The CSA will be $25 per week plus a one-time membership and research fee. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.