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The Pittsburgh Vegan Meetup Message Board › It's CSA sign-up time! Organic veggies delivered!

It's CSA sign-up time! Organic veggies delivered!

Jackson Heights, NY
Post #: 51
I just signed up for the 2009 Kretchmann Farm subscription. I'm excited. I've gone with them before, so I guess I am sticking with them out of habit rather than a thorough investigation of the other options, but I was very happy with them last time. They have lots of drop-off locations all over the city, which is great for car-free people.

They don't include animal products, though they do partner with people who do make chickens, etc. available. (Some CSAs do include animal products so watch out!) And like most organic farms they're going to be using animal products in the growing process, but if all of us vegans sign up, we can convince them to start trying out vegan organic growing!

If you're in the South Hills, you can try Cherry Valley Organics, which has a different approach in that you can order the veggies you want. I have to plug them because one of the owners was a friend of mine in high school, and I think it's awesome that she has a farm now because that was her dream.

user 8306955
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 4
Do you know if there are any CSAs around that don't use animal products in the growing process? I'd like to sign up with one, but dont want to support that process. thanks! :)
Jackson Heights, NY
Post #: 52
Unless we're growing our own food, any vegetables we buy are going to harm animals. Organically grown vegetables use animal products, but they preserve a lot more of the local biodiversity than artificially grown produce that destroys the soil.

Unfortunately, vegan farming is an area that has been largely ignored by mainstream vegan advocates, so there aren't a lot of options yet. Obviously the best solution is for vegans to start farms. That's not my area of interest, so I'm going to stick with lobbying existing farmers and work on getting a garden going. In the meantime, patronizing local organic farmers seems to me to be the most ethical option. If vegans as a block picked one farm to support, I think we could make progress showing that there is a demand for vegan-organic farming.
Anne L.
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 286
Ok, so, lots of groups are starting these small community gardens - cleaning up an abandoned lot and growing their own veggies/fruits... what about doing that but starting a veganic one?

I'd be fine helping to organize/fundraise for that, but you do NOT want me planting things - I look at a plant and it dies. Blackest thumb in the universe!
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 384
Anne, I think I could give you a run for the Blackest Thumb in the Universe title - I've even killed cactus. Oh - and an air plant. Lucky Bamboo is entirely unlucky in my incapable hands. It's a shame because I love plants - I just don't have a knack for them. Probably because they don't paw at my legs if I'm a forgetful about feeding and watering them wink

When I was a kid my parents always had a vegetable garden. I was assigned to weed the corn patch one time - funny how young corn looks an awful lot like - no, exactly like - grass. My dad didn't ask me to weed the corn ever again...

Sally, I can cook the hell out of veggies, but don't ask me to grow them first because we'll starve
Mike E.
Group Organizer
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 729
Diane and I are finally going to join a CSA this year. We are thinking about Blackberry Meadows. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Jackson Heights, NY
Post #: 53
There is a local garden meetup which can perhaps help with some details but the veganic stuff would have to be self-taught, I imagine.

My inspirational correspondence with the farm:

Dear Kretschmanns,

I am pleased to have recently signed up for the delivery service, having
been a satisfied customer in the past. One of the reasons I chose your
farm is because unlike others (such as Penn's Corner) there are no
animal products included (at least I hope that is still the case,
although I was sharing it in the past and I do seem to remember
something about honey).

So I do have several questions related to animal products. First are
there any included in the regular subscription (like honey)? If so, I
would like to have that be on my "never" list.

Second, I am curious about what kinds of animal products are used in the
growing process. I am assuming things like manure, blood and bone meal
are used? What kinds of methods are used to keep deer and other animals
from eating the crops?

Finally, I wanted to direct your attention to the Veganic Agriculture
and the UK-based Vegan Organic Network. Maybe you already have an
interest in vegan-organic growing, but if not, there is a growing demand
for it with many people eager to support such a farm locally.

If you thought you would read them, I would gladly send you a copy of
the book Growing Green - Organic Techniques for a Sustainable Future and
get you a subscription to the Growing Green International magazine.

I hope that stockfree farming is something you will consider
investigating for the future, and I look forward to hearing about your
current practices. Some fellow vegans are reluctant to sign up for your
service, so I wanted to find out more information to relay to them.

Thank you!


There are no animal products in the regular subscription - they are all
special order. There is usually bread given out in the first week of June,
which is not vegan. I'm marking you down as "no bread," unless you want to
get it - we'll replace it with veggies.
We use a small amount of manure from some local pasture-raised beef cattle,
and feather meal which is purchased from Ohio Earth Foods.
We use electrified fences powered by solar panels to keep deer and
groundhogs out of the crops. They're more of a deterrent than actually
harmful - we've all accidentally experienced the mild shock at one point or
another. The critters usually manage to get their share regardless of our
We are interested in anything that can make us better and more knowledgeable
farmers! However, we are not vegan ourselves and believe that humanely
raised animals can be part of a healthy and functional farm ecosystem, just
as in natural ecosystems. (See Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Louis
Bromfeld) I certainly respect and understand why you may choose not to
partake of animal products. If only everyone were as thorough in
investigating the morality of their food as you are!
Hope that helps. We're glad to have you with us and hopefully everything
meets your expectations!
Jackson Heights, NY
Post #: 54
Mike, the Raw meetup is having a presentation by someone from Blackberry Meadows on March 29, so that'd be an opportunity to speak with them. It says they have chickens. (One of the reasons I, as a vegan, find the raw meetup frustrating.)

Blackberry Meadows' website says this:
Are your chickens and eggs organic?

Our eggs and broiler chickens are not certified organic. The broiler (meat) chickens are not fed organic grain and there is not local access to a butcher who is certified to process organic poultry.

All of our egg layers have access to the great outdoors and roam freely on the farm. All day, they scratch around for seeds and bugs and in the evenings are fed a mix of grains from our local feed supplier.

Our broilers are pasture raised in our fields and have access to fresh water, grass and air and supplemented with grain from the local feed store (not organic).
user 7234612
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 20
Can anyone living in South Side recommend a good CSA with delivery to the Flats? Thanks!
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