Grange to honor farmers who pioneered CSAs

Last modified: 10/15/2014 7:29:02 PM
TEMPLE — The Peterborough Grange will be honoring a trio of farmers who were instrumental in starting the Community Supported Agriculture model in the United States next month — farmers who still work the land at the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in Wilton.

Ron Lucas of the Peterborough Grange appeared before the Temple Select Board on Tuesday to discuss the Grange’s plans to honor the Temple-Wilton institution. Not only is the Grange planning to honor the farm and the three men that started it in 1985, but the Grange is heading up an effort to have the state also recognize the significance of the CSA, explained Lucas. With letters from Wilton and now Temple, the Grange will be sending a request to Governor Maggie Hassan to declare Nov. 23 Temple-Wilton Community Farm Day.

Trauger Groh, Lincoln Geiger and Anthony Graham were at the forefront of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in the United States, explained Lucas. Temple-Wilton Community Farm Day is one of two farms that are credited with being the first CSAs in the country, Lucas said, along with Indian Line Farm in Egremont, Mass., which is no longer in operation, making the Temple-Wilton farm the oldest CSA in the country. Since, it has only grown, becoming a source of fresh vegetables, milk and meat for dozens of families in Temple and Wilton.

How the Temple-Wilton system works, according to their website, is that all unprocessed farm produce — vegetables and milk — is freely available to the members of the CSA if they meet the proposed budget through contributions over the course of one year. Pledges are based on the ability to pay, rather than on the amount of food to be taken. Once the contribution is made, the member is free to take as much food as is needed, depending on availability.

Community Supported Agriculture has also been a growing concept since it was first introduced to the nation in the mid-1980s. Now, there are more than 10,000 CSAs across the country.

“We feel and believe it’s time to honor these three farmers that had this vision,” said Lucas of Groh, Geiger and Graham. “Temple has a real need to be proud. These men, I consider them legends, because they’re still farming.”

Select Board Chair Gail Cromwell said she was unaware of the significance of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm CSA, but having learned, was eager to help, and she and Select Board member George Willard readily agreed to draft and sign a letter to the Governor in support of officially acknowledging the farm through a declarative day in its honor.

The ceremony honoring Groh, Geiger and Graham will be held at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture on Grove Street in Peterborough at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 23. The public is invited to attend.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.


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