Clay & Josie Erskine, Peaceful Belly Farm
“I think that our passion is our community and feeding the community members.”
Just minutes away from Boise’s downtown core, Clay and Josie Erskine of Peaceful Belly Farm cultivate 60 acres of land. Theirs is a life that is driven by a sense of purpose. Organic farmers since 2002, the Erskines defy monoculture farming by growing nearly 70 types of vegetables and hundreds of different varieties. That diversity helps them survive.
“To do that you have to know all of those different systems of how to plant, how to weed, how to harvest, how to store, how to sell, all of those different things, whereas conventional farming typically focuses on 1 or 2 commodities which is planted once, harvested once and then it gets trucked away and processed and then distributed by someone else. The benefit for us is that it balances out our risk a little bit so if one crop fails we won’t fail as a farm.”
Peaceful Belly is just one of many farms that offers Community Supported Agriculture shares — known as CSAs.
“The CSA members pre-pay for their food in the wintertime which gives us working capital at the beginning of the year. We use that capital to buy seed and hire employees to plant and weed.”
The weekly pick-ups are an event. For Peaceful Belly, that means feeding about 150 households each week.
“We set up a table like a farmers market and it’s all just laid out and people come with their own bags and pick up their share. There is a list of everything that they get for the week and then there is always someone there to help them out if they have questions, or how do I use this or what is this? But it is also a place for people to bump into each other – likeminded people who are into the local food movement.”