I have been truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and to introduce to you, the Mervin Miller Family who live in Aylmer, Ontario. They are an old order Amish family, Mervin, Naomi, Joseph, Regina, Eunice, James, Norma and Christy. I have known the family since the year 2000, and have had the extreme pleasure of getting to know each and every one of them. It was the spring of 2009 that Mervin casually approached me to look at a pamphlet he had prepared and wondered if I would proof read for him. He had started a small CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program from his road-side farm, for local residents the previous year, and was just getting it off the ground. I took one look at the piece of paper, and was thrilled at the idea of getting a weekly basket of certified organic vegetables.
My family has been eating healthy and organic as much as possible since 1979, during the time when Bev’s father battled and eventually lost to cancer. We explored naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, vegetarianism, vegan and among many other natural cures and prevention for cancer. We are fortunate to have raised two healthy children. They were raised with the benefit of organic and healthy food (vegetarian for the first two years of life), and as much local food as possible. When we moved to London Ontario in 1994, we were excited to find an organic farm, 25 minutes south of London, which we visited on a weekly basis, (the tour usually ending up to be about 1 1/2 hours what after the children playing with the farm animals and having a swing on the rope swing) to obtain our produce for quite a few years, until their delivery day and my day off did not match. At that time, I was stuck and could only find the brown wilted variety of organic vegetables available to me at our local grocery store. I still maintained my organic flour from a mill 30 minutes north of London from my home, and was able to find a few organics at Costco. Prices at the health food store were too much for a family of four.
The day Mervin Miller showed me his pamphlet, the lights came on in my head. I explained to Mervin that this would be great if we could go to Aylmer for our organic produce, however, the 45 minute drive there and 45 minutes back, would make it rather difficult for us to employ. Mervin pondered this for a week, and when I saw him next, he approached me with the idea of organizing a group in London, where he could bring his produce to us; but he would need a drop off area. I ran home that day for lunch, and gave Bev the proposal of us perhaps using our own garage in our little cul-de-sac for Mervin and Naomi to use as a community drop off. Bev jumped at the idea.
The next step was to find people who would be interested. We did not know a lot of people, and most of the people we knew were not into healthy and organic foods. I had three people. Luckily with help of my first three, we eventually managed to scrape together eleven people to start our Triple Cord CSA Organic Program – London, 2009. Soon our circle of eleven started talking to their friends, and friends of friends. As the season progressed, we obtained more families, and ended up at the end of the summer with forty-one, which represented over 50 families in London, all eating Mervin Miller’s fantastic local organic food, Franz Seeberger’s organic flour and grains, and Ira Stoll’s fabulous heritage pork. Everyone was so happy to have their boxes of veggies coming their way, that we could not stop deliveries. We kept on and through the cold and did the very first Winter CSA Share program in our area, whereby we were fed all winter from the farms of Aylmer. The rest is history. Now as we go into our sixth season, Spring and Summer 2014, we are rapidly increasing our community shared agriculture program which now also supports a local food mission that feeds families in London at the Ark Aid Mission. In addition, we are starting a new CSA in Woodstock Ontario, and Lady Locavore is also recruiting and supporting the Miller Family’s Aylmer Local Farm CSA. It feels great to know the community is enjoying the bounty that we have right here at our finger tips, from just around the corner. I am so happy to do this for everyone and share this with everyone. This is a passion and an extreme hobby or lifestyle that is worth the work!