Goldfinch Gardens: A TVA Energy for Farms Grant
In recent years, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a more popular way for producers to connect with consumers. Goldfinch Gardens, owned and operated by Ben McCann and Cedar Johnson, has a very successful online CSA at their farm in Celo, NC. They have also created an easy way for their customers to participate in this subscription-based CSA. Customers simply sign up to receive weekly emails from Goldfinch Gardens about what products are available that week. Customers choose what they would like and pick it up at the Celo Food Co-Op on Fridays.
Because of their growing success, Ben and Cedar needed a reliable structure for starting seeds. Originally Ben and Cedar were renting a greenhouse across the road from their farm that was not suitable for starting seeds, especially in the cooler months. In 2016, Ben and Cedar received a $6,000 grant from Southwestern NC RC&D Council that would allow them to build a passive/active solar greenhouse on the farm. This passive/active greenhouse allows heat to be trapped inside, which results in a heated greenhouse as well as heated hot water barrels that will emit heat at night. Vents were also installed in the structure to regulate temperature. Not only will this structure allow Ben and Cedar to cut energy costs by a significant amount, but it will also allow them to grow year round. “I’m excited to see how this greenhouse will help us be more successful with our CSA,” says Ben. “It will help us to reach more people in our community which is very exciting!”
In addition to Goldfinch Gardens’ CSA, they also sell to local restaurants like Knife & Fork (Spruce Pine, NC), Local Provisions (Asheville, NC), and The Admiral (Asheville, NC). Goldfinch Gardens also produces a wide variety of greens and vegetables including peppers, tomatoes, beans, squash, radishes, and herbs. All crops produced on the farm are certified organic.
To learn more about Goldfinch Gardens, available crops, and how to sign up for the online CSA program, please visit www.goldfinchgardens.com/.