Spiral Path Farm Reaches Out to the Community



The Brownback family at Spiral Path Farm

On the 255-acre Spiral Path Farm in Perry County, the Brownback family has been dedicated to organic farming and community service for more than two decades. “My parents started the farm in 1977, we were certified organic in ’91, and the CSA started in ’94,” says Lucas Brownback, 30. “They were definitely ahead of the game on the organic trend.”

The Brownbacks first learned about the growing trend of community supported agriculture (CSA) in the early 1990s. The elder Brownbacks knew the model would be ideal for their rural farm, and they began planting acres of vegetables and accepting members right away.

“My parents started out as pig farmers, but my dad is a real animal lover,” Brownback says. “He didn’t want to look at the pigs as just a livelihood. Vegetables were a better fit, but where we live is really rural, so a traditional farm store wouldn’t work. The only way to really get out to the customers was this CSA model. If you’re a small farm starting off, the support of CSA members basically translates to instant sustainable success.” In a CSA model, members make a financial commitment in the late winter or early spring, and then receive a weekly share of freshly grown, in-season produce.

“We started with about 15 members,” Brownback says. “Last year, we had about 2,000. Over the year, we’ve had about a 50 percent retention rate. I’d like to think that’s because of the quality of our produce. People are seeing how much they can get for their buck; how large a share they’re getting each week. Once they’ve had that quality, it’s hard to go back.”

Brownback says much of that quality comes from Spiral Path Farm’s organic growing practices and their carefully cared-for soil. “I credit my mom and dad, who have been adamantly adding to the soil for 40 years,” Brownback says. “Our mission was to improve the land, and from that we’ve gotten really good tasting food. Because of the way we take care of the soil, it’s very nutrient-dense. We’re really serious about keeping the ecosystem balanced on our farm.”

Part of Spiral Path Farm’s mission and CSA program is getting members directly involved. They host monthly “farm days” on Saturdays during the season. “We want our members to experience what it’s like on the farm,” Brownback says. “It’s a pretty fun, successful thing that gives people an opportunity to see where their food is coming from. It’s especially great for kids. We focus on projects that get them interested in farming. We want to teach them that dirt is good, that bugs are good. We like to get them dirty. We want to keep their interest in eating well. We know the parents want to eat healthy, but we want the kids to want to eat healthy, too.”

Spiral Path Farm is located at 538 Spiral Path Lane, in Loysville, PA. For more information about the farm and CSA membership, call 717-789-4433 or visit SpiralPathFarm.com. See ad page xx.

Kate Morgan is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine and can be reached at byKateMorgan@gmail.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Pure Oil Couple Jen and Jeff Frey Share the Benefits of doTERRA Essential Oils

doTERRA essential oils have enhanced the lives of Jen and Jeff Frey, and their family, in important and beneficial ways, affording them a holistic lifestyle using nature’s remedies to support health and wellness.

Thermography Provides a Vibrant Vision of Health

Dr. Pamela Howard encourages women to become empowered, active participants on the journey toward living a long time in vibrant health. Since 2005, she has been the certified clinical thermographer for her own business, Advanced Thermal Imaging, with locations in Mechanicsburg and Columbia.

Cultivating Conception from Within with Dr. Brit Reed

At the (In) fertility Center, in Mansfield, Dr. Brit Reed helps women conceive using natural, effective, non-invasive protocols. For the past seven years, her focus has been on working with pediatric and prenatal clients because more women are seeking care and education for fertility challenges and pre-conceptive wellness.

Changing Décor and Lives at Furniture Finesse

At Furniture Finesse, in York, owner Susie Mummert’s specialized attention means each customer walks away with precisely the right furniture or window coverings to fit their individual style and needs.

Classes to Prepare for Life with Baby at Om Baby Center

Om Baby Center, in Camp Hill, supports parents through the journey of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting with a variety of classes that educate and prepare them.