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Wake County CSA Brings Farmers and Faith Communities Together

On March 26, farmers and members of the Wake County CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project participated in a “Blessing of the Land” event at Singing Stream Farm in Creedmoor, North Carolina. Singing Stream Farm is owned and operated by brothers Ken and Dennis Daniel and is one of the farms that make up the Wake County CSA. A CSA is a farming model where the consumer purchases a share of a farmer’s production up-front, guaranteeing a farmer income and allowing them to plan their crop production in a way that limits waste and expense. 

The Wake County CSA is a project of RAFI-USA’s Farm and Faith Partnership Project (FFPP). FFPP is a collaborative partnership among three of RAFI-USA’s programs: the Farmers of Color Network, Come to the Table and Expanding Farmers Market Access. The goal of FFPP is to counteract injustices in the food system that marginalize farmers of color and rural communities of color by creating mutually beneficial and self-sustaining economic partnerships between farmers of color and faith groups in their communities. 

Ken Daniel (pictured) and his brother Dennis, farmers in the CSA, hosted the Blessing of the Land.

The Wake County CSA began in the spring of 2021 and has grown to include 11 churches, eight farms, and over 130 shares of produce. RAFI-USA’s Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager Jarred White has overseen the formation of this CSA, and CSA projects in other counties are currently in development. Over 50 CSA shareholders and farmers attended the Blessing of the Land. 

Along with a formal blessing of the land, the event featured a potluck meal and remarks from participating CSA farmers and members.

Singing Stream Farm co-owner Ken Daniel emphasized the importance of the relationship-building that the CSA has offered him, both with faith community members and other farmers.

“When I first joined the CSA, [the other farmers] were making preparations for the first Blessing of the land event,” Ken said. “And I thought to myself, ‘Blessing of the Land? Now that sounds like something I want to be involved with.’” 

For Ken and Dennis, getting to participate in a blessing ceremony was memorable because the land on which they farm is also where they grew up.

 “I primed tobacco in this field behind me. I picked cucumbers in this field behind you,” Ken said. “This is so special.” 

Rev. Lacey Brown gives the formal blessing of the land.

Community United Church of Christ pastor Rev. Lacey Brown gave the formal blessing of the land. 

“Our lives and the great variety of life depend on the land and its vitality,” Rev. Brown said. “We are aware that creation is a gift and we reap what we sow.”

“Bless the hands that plant, prune, and propagate. Bless the seeds, the bugs, the animals. Bless the labor and the work. Bless the people who eat from the land, their bodies, their minds, and their hearts. Bless the community that dreams of sustainability and equality and creation justice. Bless the farmers. Bless their ancestors. Bless the churches. Bless the creative minds at RAFI. Bless our budding relationships and new friendships.” 

After a potluck meal, CSA members and farmers shared their favorite parts of being a part of the Wake County CSA.

“I admire these farmers. I’m so glad to be a part of this cooperative effort,” CSA member Doug Barrick said. “There’s nothing quite like preparing and dining on these fresh vegetables that a smaller farm and dedicated farmers cultivate.”

Other participating Wake County CSA farmers, Carolyn Cheek, Dwain Coleman, and Dulime Saint Jean, each spoke about their farms, opportunities for CSA member engagement at the farm, and their gratitude for the CSA. 

Ken Daniel brought the event to a conclusion by performing “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”