Every other week I receive a box of fresh-picked, delicious vegetables. I love seeing what we get, even if it is something I don’t like as much or have no idea how to cook. That’s the beauty of a CSA share.
CSA stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture, and this weekend Slow Food Austin just happened to pick my CSA farm, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, for a local farm tour.
While the farm is now 20 acres (and growing), Brenton Johnson’s farm really did start in his backyard. An interest in agriculture led him to rip up the lawn at his East Austin home and plant rows and rows of vegetables. Soon he began selling at the Austin Farmer’s Market, and things took off. Brenton and his family moved out near the airport and increased their farming venture. Continued growth has made Johnson’s Backyard Garden the largest CSA in Texas in only three years.
Despite that accomplishment, it’s still just the tip of the population of Austin. Brenton figures that in order to feed all of Austin, we’d need about 12,000 acres of farmland, with 213 farms at 70 acres each. No wonder so many people are getting their veggies trucked in from all over the world.
Brenton has plans in the works to buy an additional 150 acres. His goal is to continue the vegetable farm on 40 acres, and devote the rest of the land to creating a nonprofit that would provide education on farming and food accessibility.
“I’m not trying to get rich,” says Brenton. “I just want to grow good, healthy food.”
The next Slow Food Austin farm tour will be at Stryk Dairy in Schulenberg on March 27. You can find more information here.