January 16, 2024
Hello Troy Farm members and Rooted community,
We are writing with some bittersweet news. We have decided to pause our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program at Troy Farm for the 2024 growing season in order to reflect on our mission and focus on current and future programming that reflects the best interest of the community. This is not a decision we take lightly, but after 2 years of consideration, it is the decision we at Rooted believe is necessary.
Troy Farm has a wonderful origin story and a rich history. In the late 1990s local community members, UW Madison professors and staff, and members of the Northside Planning Council created and executed a community driven process to set aside land at 502 Troy Drive for agricultural, gardening, and community use. Initially Troy Farm was born simply as a way to grow food for the local community. Over time the farm began to hold community events, host interns, and eventually formalized a farmer training program. Each step of the way the work that was being done on the land has evolved.
Over the past 20 years, CSA Farming has thrived in the Madison Area. As a result of this excellent development, we have realized that community needs have shifted from food supply to food access, community education, and small scale grower collaborations. As we have realigned our work at Troy Farm to be able to address these needs, maintaining the CSA at the same time has become logistically and financially unsustainable. This is why we are taking 2024 to ask our team, our partners, and the community important questions about the future of Troy Farm.
Rooted has applied for USDA funds to support a thorough planning process that would include extensive community engagement and urban farmer recommendations to create a 5 year plan for Troy Farm. We are very excited to work with all of you and the broader community to reimagine how this beautiful agricultural land resource can contribute to the health and happiness of Madison residents. In the meantime, Troy Farm will still be growing food, hosting community events, and training and supporting other farmers on the land. We will continue to grow food for the local community by distributing fresh organic produce to food insecure households at several community centers on the Northside of Madison through the Purpose Grown Project. Troy Farm will also continue to participate as a host farm in the Organic Farm Manager Apprenticeship Program, and provide growing space for the five different organizations and individuals working the land at Troy: FarmHer Greens, Occupy Madison, Troy Composting, TradeRoots, and Youth Empowerment Initiatives.
We at Rooted are entirely open to hearing and responding to community needs through this planning process, and as a result we do not yet know what the future holds for Troy Farm. It is even possible that an urban CSA may be a part of that future. For this season, you can find many good options for other local CSA farms by visiting the Fairshare CSA Coalition farm search page and through the Farm Fresh Atlas.
One thing is clear to us: enjoying delicious food together on the land is a wonderful way to be in community, and we plan to continue that tradition in ways that are collaborative, welcoming, and inclusive. You can subscribe to our newsletter, visit our online event calendar, and follow us on social media to learn about meals, workshops, and other events at Troy we will be hosting this year. There is still plenty of work to do on the farm, so please reach out if you would like to be a volunteer or worker share this season to help us do this wonderful and essential work. Also, keep an eye out for emails from us, as we would like to stay connected with everyone who has been a part of the farm.
Finally, on a personal note, we at the farm just want to express our deep appreciation for the support and participation of our Troy Farm members. There is certainly a sense of loss for all of us as we imagine a season without seeing you each week. This isn’t goodbye, because we are excited to see you on the land in other ways at the plant sale, farm events, and workshops, but it is a transition. We hope you will all join us in this exploration and support Troy Farm as we enter the next chapter.
Interim Co-Executive Director
Interim Co-Executive Director
Troy Farm Director