Peace by Piece Farm
By Craig Schill
In 2010 Cynthia Beck moved back to the family farm in Waterford that she co-owns with her sister. Peace by Piece Farm is located on 235 acres, 17 of which are in hay, 5 in non-GMO (genetically modified organism), chemical free corn and 5 in non-GMO, chemical free speltz, with ½-3/4 of an acre in vegetables. In addition to crops, the farm is also home to 35 laying hens, a flock of free-range Bourbon Red turkeys, some Freedom Ranger meat chickens, 2 Belgian draft horses and a hive of honeybees. In 2016 the farm will celebrate its 200th anniversary.
In 2011, Beck established the Peace by Piece Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to create a market for her sustainably raised vegetables. She carefully planned for 5 customers the first year, but ended up with 15 and had to get help from friends to meet her commitments. In 2012, the 46 customers of Peace by Piece CSA received fruits and vegetables from 3 partner farms, the other two owned by friends Judith Dauson and Eli Yoder. All three farms embrace the same chemical free growing practices. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, Dauson writes a newsletter weekly to educate the CSA customers about the products they receive as well as providing short biographies about people who have been and continue to be important in the local and sustainable foods movement. Dauson also helps with deliveries and provides recipes each week to add to the baskets. Evaluations from customers at the end of the season provide feedback to improve the products and service each year.
Like most CSAs, customers pay a deposit prior to the growing season, which helps meets the cost of seeds and planting. In a typical day during the growing season, Beck is up before dawn and works non-stop all day. The majority of farm work involves planting, weeding, picking and packaging the vegetables for the baskets with certain days devoted to deliveries to local farmers markets and CSA customers. Peace by Piece Farm is a regular participant in the Goodell Gardens Farmers Market in Edinboro.
Beck said the biggest challenges facing a sustainable vegetable farmer are the weather, the woodchucks, and the number of hours in a day. However, she is optimistic that in the long run, all the hard work will pay off and the Peace by Piece Farm CSA will provide good food to local customers for years to come.
Piece by Peace Farm: A link to contact information about the Waterford farm.
Cynthia Beck, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1116
Waterford, PA 16441