CSA sharecropping

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The facet I like most about Charlie Radoslovich's Rad Urban Farmers business model is that he is a farmer without any land. From the top, you know he's either a wacko or on to something significant. I'm thinking it's the latter.

He told me he didn't devise the ideas, but he's certainly on the front edge of the wave. If he's successful, think how much land under lawn-grass cultivation could be converted to productive use.

Anyway, a key component for him is finding OPL (other people's land), so here's a bit of perspective from Christine Zendeh of Lexington, whom I interviewed for my Globe story but whose comments I wasn't able to use.

Zendeh and her husband, Soheil, have given over a 20x25-foot plot of land with excellent sun to Radoslovich. They can expect to get up to 10 pounds of fresh, locally grown produce a week, all for the initial investment of about $100. It's cheap, but they're the landlords, after all. Radoslovich, meanwhile, will sell what doesn't go to landowers at the Lexington Farmers Market.

It's interesting to note that they won't reap produce only from their yard. Radoslovich said each plot varies not only in size but in soil and light conditions as well. That means each site will yield different crops, and he'll consolidate before handing out shares.

Zendeh said they were admirers from the start.
"We thought this was just a brilliant, creative, wonderful idea. We’d been looking into sustainability and being connected, providing for what you need, locally, so we don’t use all the fossil fuels, etc."

Zendeh said the family has purchases CSA shares before, wanting to support local farmers, whose skills she admires. "I’m not much of a farmer, and Charlie has made that portion of our yard productive and fertile."

She described her food outlook as "the whole Alice Waters thing."

"I know when you get something fresh, and it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides, you can actually eat it. Like eating a real tomato, instead of a plastic tomato."


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