Farm Credit Affiliation
MidAtlantic Farm Credit
spring of 2014, after a plant research internship in South Africa, Melissa Mellinger returned
home eager to start a new venture: True Vine Farm CSA. A community supported agriculture farm, or CSA, offers fresh, local food memberships to nearby consumers.
in 2007 as an aging wine grape vineyard, she guided the family farm goals into
new territory with her passion for educating others in healthy eating and
sustainability. Aging vines were removed and replaced with vegetables and fruit.
Gradually adding chickens, sheep and turkey, as well as hosting an occasional
wedding, have provided sustainability for the future of the farm.
process of creating an environment and business in which both hope and
high-quality food are entwined is not a simple one, but I believe it to be the
most rewarding of jobs,” says Melissa, qualifying that “I cannot view farming
as only a job – it is a way of life. Energy overflows from the process of
creating, growing, learning and sharing.”
In the CSA’s first year, members were able to
choose their weekly produce. With the addition of several community farms in
2015, wider vegetable varieties, fruit, eggs, goat cheese, yogurt and flowers
were added. The CSA distributes a newsletter with recipes encouraging inclusion
of new foods in family meals and listing local upcoming events. To encourage
membership, True Vine Farm’s CSA offers delivery, early bird discounts, and an
option to do some work on the farm for reduced fees.
horticulture at Pennsylvania State University and then studied plant nutrition overseas,
Melissa was motivated to educate consumers here at home. She now teaches participants
in Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Boys and Girls Club after school gardening program
how, where and when their food is grown. Extending her educational reach, she
inspires students to share their new knowledge with their family members.
active church youth leader, she also organizes a farm-to-table dinner, fundraiser
and farm tour, using primarily locally produced foods and beverages. She
encourages her team of youths to work side-by-side with her to prepare and
serve the community meal.
has been an awakening, reconnecting consumers to their farmer and farmers to
fresh possibilities. With the aid of research and guidance gained from other
farmers, agriculture will trend toward sustainably caring for the land and its
abiding residents,” Melissa says.
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