Megan Allen and her husband Eduardo "Lalo" Lazaro cultivate 7 acres of vegetables and 7 acres of cover crops on Care of the Earth Community Farm and CSA in Corryton, Knox County, TN, with their young son Evan Shea in tow. They also have a young apple orchard, 2 woodland acres, and 4 acres in pasture. Their animals feed on crop residues, greatly reducing tractor use. They have farmed this land since 2009, and have seen dramatic soil improvement.
They would like to hire an employee or trade labor for CSA shares, but they find that even among students studying agriculture at nearby colleges, few actually want to farm. They wish they could find, in Tennessee, some of the community enthusiasm for farm work that they benefited from on their previous farm, in New York State.
For their 120 CSA members, Care of the Earth supplies not only the usual wide range of produce, but also dry beans, popcorn, and cornmeal on a weekly or biweekly basis from April through November, and runs a smaller winter CSA. This year they also grew seed crops for us of Tennessee Red Valencia peanuts, Turkish Italian Orange eggplants, and Selma Zesta beans, and they planted Variegated collards for a 2017 seed harvest. They have a strong commitment to helping preserve heirloom varieties, and told us about a few rare ones they grow that we’ll trial next year. Their farm is certified Organic through Oregon Tilth. You can read more about it on their website