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GI Acres is Growing

Ok we grow a lot especially during the gardening season. Take a look at the pictures of our weekly shares if you don’t believe us. We are actually getting bigger. The 15 acres around our little urban farm is up for sale and we have a signed purchase agreement with the seller. Now pending approval from the bank and clear title we will own a bigger piece for our experiment.

We will own the property to the south of us to the corn field and to the west to Engleman Road. Right now it is mostly planted in alfalfa. Not sure what we are going to do with it but it will help us control what happens around us.

And We Are Back Again

Welcome to the end of 2020. It has been a strange year for all of us. At GI Acres, we had a good year for the farm. We sold/traded all 10 full season shares and sold 3 of 6 short season shares. The weather cooperated and production was good. We did have issues with rabbits this year. They really liked the beets and the Swiss chard this year so we had less of those.

We plan to offer both the Full Season (weekly from June through September) and the Short Season (6 shares between mid-July and mid-September when production is at its highest). Our CSA management platform Small Farm Central is no longer providing the same service. They have grown into a larger and hopefully more successful version. Unfortunately for us their new product is priced at a level that we cannot afford.

At this point we plan to use Google Forms for sign up. Our son Will has added some scripting that will automatically limit choices as shares are spoken for and so it will only let you sign up for what we have available. Former members have priority and are invited to sign up by December 31, 2020. On January 1 we will publish the link to the form publicly and open membership up to everyone.

If you are interested in what you get in each share look at the galleries below. We have 18 weeks of the full season from last year and five of the six weeks of the short season. Week 3 of the short season everyone showed up early or on time and we did not get a picture of the share.

Week 18 2020
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Visiting an Urban, Urban Farm

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I like to call what we do Urban Farming. The truth is that we live in a community of 50,000 people and have an acreage on the edge of Grand Island. We live on a suburban acreage. We play at farming and enjoy running our CSA but both Kathy and I have full time jobs and we are not supporting ourselves or our family with our farm. The first week of May we visited The Urban Farming Guys in Kansas City MO.

The are a real urban farm located in a first ring suburb of Kansas City just 1.9 miles from downtown KC. They bought their first house in the neighborhood 10 years ago for $21,000. They have continued to buy other houses, buildings and lots in the neighborhood. They operate a green house and urban farm. They have had a CSA and have a community room and maker space. We rented two of their houses via AirBnB for a weekend to celebrate my nephew’s high school graduation. Candy was gracious enough to give us a tour of the green house and farm. The Urban Farming Guys have a great YouTube Channel check it out. If you are traveling to KC look them up on AirBnB it was a great experience.

Adventures in Urban Farming – Home

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Chad Nabity

Seeds and seed catalogs Kathy thinks maybe we have a problem is anything

Posted by Chad Nabity on Saturday, February 9, 2019

If you are interested in the local food movement… – Adventures in Urban Farming

If you are interested in the local food movement and supporting small and micro businesses this is a really important…

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Saturday, January 26, 2019

Just What is in a Full Share?

We plant a wide variety of crops. You will start the season with cool weather and spring crops: Lettuce, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard), radishes, garlic scapes, rhubarb and winter onions. During the warmer months you can expect green beans (several varieties), summer squash, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , herbs, cabbage, onions, new potatoes and fennel. The summer crops will continue some of those above and add in tomatoes (last year we planted 39 varieties), peppers, egg plant, garlic, celery and sweet corn (we don’t grow it but buy it from a local producer). As we transition in to the fall months we will still have tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, onions, potatoes, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , maybe green beans, and add in winter squash, popcorn (if the squirrels don’t eat it again this year), horse radish root, apples, and maybe pumpkins or corn shocks for decoration.

In 2019 there will be 18 Wednesdays between June 6, 2019 and October 2, 2019. We plan to have at least 18 weeks of shares but we could have as many as 20 if we have things ready for the last week of May and have a final pick up after October 2. This last 2 seasons we have had a last pickup in mid-October. The cost for a full season share is $400. The full amount has to be paid by March 1 to secure your spot. If you are a returning member we do offer a 10% discount if you sign up and pay by February 16.

The Short Season share is similar to the Full Share but does start later in the summer and only includes 6 weeks. We plan to start it in July and end in late August or early September. Shares will not be available every week depending on our schedule. Short season shares are $150 and available on Sunday afternoons.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to use everything, and this can be an issue, you can always find someone to share with or donate the extra.

You can pick your season and sign up by following this link: GI Acres CSA Share Types.

Getting Ready for 2019

CSA Day is on February 22 of 2019. If you are a returning CSA Member we are offering $40 off of a full membership if you sign up before February 16. A full membership will be $400 after that date. We will be offering 10 full memberships and 6 short season memberships again this year. Full memberships will be approx 20 weeks from the first of June to the end of September. Short season will begin in July and end in September and include 6 pickups. Short season shares are $150.

It was a very productive Memorial Day Weekend in the Garden

A combination of the weather and our travel schedule has kept us out of the garden and put us a bit behind.  We got all of our plant in the garden over Memorial Day weekend but we still have seed to plant.  The weekend was really hot (record setting high temp and record setting high (low) temps).  It was over 90 degrees all three days of the weekend right up until the downpour on Monday afternoon.  We did get a lot accomplished just not as much as we hoped.  It looks like the first week’s share will include fresh herbs (chives, green garlic, mint, oregano, sage and maybe some others) fresh greens (Salad, Mustard, Chard). winter onions, rhubarb, eggs (if we can get cartons) and radishes.  We might even throw in some young horseradish root.

And the Garden is a Go

We finally got to spend a day in the garden.  Between the weather, holidays and travelling it has been slow this year.  The weather this year has been frightful.  The first potatoes went in on Good Friday and we got snow for Easter.  Then we had snow or ice every weekend until the end of April.  Kathy got two new colonies of bees installed on April 18th.  We were worried that it might be too cold for them.  We left the next day for New Orleans.  Chad was attending and speaking at the American Planning Association conference.

The weather turned gorgeous while we were gone.  The last weekend of April we picked up the first of our plants from Barb’s Greenhouse in St. Libory.  We got 3 kinds of cabbage, (golden acre, kalibos, and murdoc) and 3 kinds of broccoli (romensco, purple santee, and happy rich).  The last two are more sprouting broccoli than heads of broccoli. We also picked up leeks and shallots and a few other random plants.

We started laying out the garden and put in fence for peas and beans and planted the cabbages and peas on Saturday. Kathy also checked on the bees and discovered that while they were doing fine and the  Sunday we hope to get the broccoli, leeks and shallots planted.  We also have a couple of apricot trees that need to get in the ground.

We do still have 2 full shares available and 4 short season shares if you know anyone that would be interested. Send them to our signup page.

Found some cool food and veggie videos check them out

Check out the cool chives video from the lyrical chef MackaB.  We will post other videos by him and you can subscribe to his Youtube page if you like them.

We do still have shares available for the 2018 season, both full shares and short season shares.

 

 

Week 17, September 20, 2017

We are coming to a close for the season.  I anticipate that we will only have one more week this year.  Maybe 2 but that will be dependent on the weather.  There is no pick up next week but the last will be Sunday October 8.  This week included melons and winter squash.  We also included fall decorations, gourds, pumpkins and corn shocks.  Food is the primary purpose of a CSA but beauty, (flowers and decorative items) is also a part of the contract.  We truly want people to connect to nature and we connect by what we eat and by what we see.

Week 14, August 30 2017

We are closing in on Labor Day.  The bush beans are looking like they are about done and the winter squash are starting to get some color.  The Nebraska State Fair is in full swing and Kathy and I both got ribbons on some of our entries.  I entered dehydrated tomatoes and shredded zucchini.  Kathy entered her green tomato curry, 4 spaghetti sauces and a hot pepper jelly.

Chad’s Ribbons

Kathy’s Ribbons

It was a busy week for many of our members.  We had 4 members contact us that they would not be picking up their shares.  I’m not sure if the shares are so big this time of year that they can’t get them used or if they were just busy because of the fair.  I know at least

San Marzano Redorta a very nice paste tomato. Look at the flesh in that thing.

2 were busy because of the fair. We gave away one share and canned and dehydrated a bunch of the tomatoes many like the one above

I picked one of the Wisconsin Orange Flesh Honeydew.  It has a nice flavor and is very pretty.

Wisconsin Orange Flesh Honeydew grown in Nebraska

Here are pictures of the Week 14 share.  Only 4 more weeks this year.  Where has the time gone?

Week 09, July 26, 2017

Sorry this is so late.  This week it is more helpful as history rather than for our members to be able to remember what everything is.  There weren’t a lot of confusing greens this week though.  This week saw the first real move into the summer veggies with corn, tomatoes, and beans. It is hard to believe that we are half way through the season.  The garden has been bountiful and we have been blessed.

Week 08, July 19 2017

Since last week we have had more than 4 inches of rain.  It has been great for the garden but we did have quite a bit of wind that blew over the corn and green beans.  It looks like we they will recover.

This week we had potatoes, green beans, Asian long beans, lettuce, cucumbers, beets, egg plant, summer squash, a choice of turnip greens, Swiss Chard or collards, and choice of okra or peas.

Week 07, July 12 GI Acres CSA Share

We are moving into the summer crops.  This week’s share included a lot of summer squash and our first green beans.  Not everyone got green beans but next week I think everyone will.  We had to pull a second table out of the garage to put all of the veggies on.  We had 2 kinds of lettuce and 2 kinds of cabbage.  Our garden cabbage was really yummy.  The Napa cabbage turned out nice too.  If you didn’t get Napa you could choose baby beats.  Everyone got radishes including black Spanish and Daikon.  If you didn’t get green beans you could choose peas or potatoes.  Everyone got basil, Swiss Chard, Fennel, Leeks, Garlic, Cucumbers and Basil.  The other choice was between egg plant, okra and turnips.  God has blessed us a with productive garden this year.  We are getting rain right now and if there isn’t any hail it should continue to thrive.

Week 05, June 28, 2017

We are starting to see the transition from Spring to Summer.  The cold crops are slowing down.  This is most likely the last week for peas and the mustard and spinach have bolted.  We still have lettuce and the Swiss Chard is doing great.  There are lots of green tomatoes, the beans are blooming and we have picked a few small eggplant and summer squash for our own use.  We don’t have enough for a share but they should be starting soon. This week we included Fennel again and should be able to include it 1 or 2 more times.  We took pictures with the Kale, Mustard and Swiss Chard all in the same picture so you tell them apart.  Mint and Oregano were the herbs of the week but if you need more Dill just ask we have plenty.

The Garden is almost full!

Beautiful day today June 17, 2017.  I mowed around the garden and mulched the early sweet corn with grass clippings.  Kathy picked pod peas, weeded and thinned the carrots and then pickled little carrots.  The chickens and rabbits enjoyed the tops.  I spent a lot of time weeding and then planted a bunch of our left over tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  (Note for next year just get 25% more in plants than you think you need not 100%.)  Barb’s Greenhouse did a great job starting our plants for us and we are thrilled as long as they are willing to start plants for us we will be using them!

I planted 30 more tomato plants, 22 peppers and 6 more egg plant.  We still have some plants if anyone wants them but we are not going to plant any more.

We don’t have enough cages for these extra plants but are going to buy stakes and try the Florida Weave.  Watch the video it is really cool.  This would take a little more work but stakes are easier to store than cages. 🙂

The garden is looking really good.  Weeds are under control and we haven’t been hit with hail yet.

Last week we planted more sweet corn so hopefully we will have 5 or 6 weeks of corn for everyone.  Probably only 4 or 5 ears but that is at least one meal.

Thank you for joining us in this adventure.

 

 

Week 3 Pickup June 14, 2017

Week Three was a big batch of food 2 bags full.  We had Mustard, Kale, Lettuce (head and leaf), Radishes, Chives, Pod Peas, Swiss Chard, Spring Rapini, Rhubarb and Strawberries.  We also offered Mint, Oregano and Dill for anyone that needed more.  On June 13 we had a bit of storm and lots of Grand Island got hail but we were fortunate and did not have any damage.  We did get 1.25 inches of rain though.  Strawberries are doing well.  Several people got theirs the weekend before as they were ready. We planned to offer chia sprouts but that did not work out the way we hoped.  Maybe next week we will have some sprouts.  This is a bit of a learning experience for all of us.

Week 2 Pickup June 07 2017

This was a green share.  Lots of herbs and spring greens.  Mustard, Spring Rapini, Flat Leaf Parsley, Oregano, Dill, Mint, Radishes, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Mixed Salad Greens, and Garlic Scapes.

May 31 2017 CSA Pickup

We kicked off the 2017 CSA season tonight.  All of our members showed up on time.  Thank you.  The attached pictures are from our first share.  We did include eggs this week.  Eggs are not a given.  We only have 3 hens producing eggs at this time so we only get 2 or 3 a day.  We do have a bunch of young hens that will hopefully start laying soon.   The share this week included Popcorn (from last year), Mustard Greens, Green Garlic, Green Onions, Mint, Oregano, Dill, Chives, Rhubarb, 6 Eggs, Bean Sprouts, Daisies, Choice of Pak Choi, Spinach, Bib Lettuce or Mixed Greens and Edible Flowers.

 

First CSA Season Successfully Completed

The second week of October we ended our CSA season.  For 20 weeks we had baskets of food ready for each of our nine members.  It was our intent to sell 10 memberships and we sold nine.  Attached are pictures of the shares from each week.

We plan to offer 10 shares again during the 2017 season.  We have not yet set the price for the 2017 season but it will be more than we charged for the 2016 season.  2016 members have priority for the 2017 season but if you are interested in participating send us an email or give us a call.

Week 16, Sept 14
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You say “CSA,” I say “food hub” | New Food Economy

Recent debates over food system ethos and terminology missed a key step: what do these terms even mean?

Source: You say “CSA,” I say “food hub” | New Food Economy

10 things you won’t do after becoming an urban homesteader – Homegrown & Healthy

Once you’ve been bitten by the urban homesteading bug, there’s no cure. For real. When John and I started our teeny, tiny little garden and first documented it on The Sustainable Couple, we had no idea what we were doing. Fast forward 5 years and we’ve gotten ourselves together. We also have backyard chickens, 6… Read More »

Source: 10 things you won’t do after becoming an urban homesteader – Homegrown & Healthy

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? on Vimeo

A nice video explaining what a CSA is and how it works. We won’t be planting tomatoes with a tractor.

About GI Acres CSA

GI Acres is located on the western edge of Grand Island, Nebraska. The garden takes up about half of an acre. We also have chickens, rabbits and bees

Our farm is not USDA Certified Organic and we do not anticipate applying for such status. We strive to produce healthy vegetables using natural methods of fertilizing, building soil, and controlling pests such as insects and weeds. Those healthy vegetables will begin in mid to late May with herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. During the season you can expect a variety of greens, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and potatoes along with tips about how to cook and preserve your weekly share. The season will conclude in late September or early October. We aim for a 20-week season.

We did not grow up on farms but we did grow up in families with large gardens, eating a variety of fresh produce and canning/freezing the excess. We have maintained the tradition of growing and preserving food for our family for the past 20+ years. GI Acres is our attempt to share that passion for good food with our community.