The New Share Croppers
I loved photographing this assignment for Maine Women Magazine's August issue. See the full article with story by Amy Paradysz at mainewomenmagazine.com
Adrienne Lee, Christa Bahner, and Colleen Hanlon Smith are the brains and the brawn behind Daybreak Growers Alliance, a multi-farm CSA headquartered in Knox, Maine. Their collaborative model provides people from across Southern Maine with the ability to customize their bi-weekly food delivery to their preferences while directly supporting small-scale farms.
The partners coordinate and organize deliveries from neighboring farms as well as their own. Each box is packed according to the customers' requests via their computer software, grouped according to where it will be delivered, and packed onto trucks.
CSA members can select vegetables, fruit, flowers, bread, dairy, and meat from the extensive offerings of the Alliance. Shares are delivered to workplaces, shops, and schools.
Their model prioritizes sustainability in both the environmental and economic senses.
Farms involved in Daybreak Growers Alliance share common goals and values--they are all small-scale, farmer-owned operations with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Many are certified organic. By coordinating many small farms, the Alliance is able to satisfy a larger market, creating a more consistent demand for growers. Combined with the fact that every cent paid towards CSA shares goes directly back to farmer-owners, the model also contributes to a more stable rural economy.
The leaders of the Alliance are all agricultural entreprenuers in their own right. Adrienne runs two other businesses: New Beat Farm, a certified organic horsepowered vegetable and sheep farm with her husband, Ken Lamson, and Belladonna Floral, a field-to-vase cut flower business with longtime friend Ashley Savage. Christa runs Bahner Farm, a certified organic farm, with her husband, Mike Bahner, and two children. They have a popular farm stand on Rt. 3 in Belmont on the way into Belfast as well as their own CSA. Colleen Hanlon Smith has taken over The Locust Grove, a peach orchard and berry farm in Albion.