By Nancy Smorch
Previously, I talked about finding local options for farm-raised, antibiotic and hormone-free meat.
Produce, of course, is often easier to track down, and more available—however, that pretty bunch of carrots at the farmer’s market may not be as safe as you think! Ask farmers at stands if they treat their produce with any pesticides, and you’ll be amazed by how many admit that they do!
Happily, for local residents or just those near the Holland, Michigan, area, there are lots of options for CSA’s and organically grown fruits and vegetables.
One of the options I love around here is Eighth Day Farm.
Started in 2010, the Farm has two growing locations—the first at the corner of Pine and 29th street, and the other in an unused parking lot of the Holland Outlet Mall.
I stumbled across their newest growing location last year while my daughter and I were out shopping. They had just begun, and I couldn’t believe it—what used to be a huge, unused parking lot (our mall doesn’t get a lot of traffic) had been transformed into an amazing garden! I was blown away that in the middle of wasted space, a group of individuals were enacting their vision for something beautiful that will reach out and make an impact in the community.
It's exciting for me to see the progress they have made since we first visited last year (above)! Now, their garden (below) is in full bloom.
The mission of the Eighth Day Farm truly resonates with me. They seek to “educate youth and adults about the many ways our food consumption affects our lives and planet, improve access to good food for low-income households, and to employ under- or unemployed neighbors in the city of Holland."
Eighth Day offers a CSA program, so people who may not otherwise have access to fresh, chemical-free vegetables can choose from all kinds of great options - from staples like beans, broccoli, and tomatoes, to rutabagas, kohlrabi, and bok choy.
For those those who don't want to purchase a full- or half-share, they also run a market stand at the outlet mall location (Monday through Friday, 4-6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). They even accept EBT, just plan to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag!) to reduce impact on the earth.
At the end of the month, Eighth Day Farm is also doing something that I would love to be able to do soon—bringing cooks and the community together to celebrate wholesome food in a delicious way! They will be hosting a “Farm to Fork” event, where local chefs will prepare Eighth Day vegetables in a tasty competition, supplemented by live jazz and tours of the farm! You can check out that event here.
I love places like this that seek to provide something that is much needed (great-quality food), but also try to help bring a community together through teamwork. It gives people an opportunity to contribute and produce something of value in and loving and nurturing way—so much can be learned through projects like this!