Eating local, organic food: Riverbound Farms
By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor
Living in a relatively small community, it can often be difficult to buy fresh, organic produce. While new sources are opening with the expansion of the Bismarck-Mandan area, it can be nice to know the producers of one’s goods. Riverbound Farms is one of the solutions for such a problem.
It has been five years since Riverbound Farms first opened south of Mandan. At the time, Brian and Angie McGinness, owners and operators of the farm, had already had a long history farming experience.
Brian had first started working for a community supported agriculture farm n 1999, after he finished his CCOF organic farming apprenticeship at Three Rivers, Calif. Since then, he has continued to gain farming experience through his working on various farms, as well as owning his own.
Angie got into farming through a different route. After graduating high school, she went to work on her uncle’s farm, near Mandan. Three years later, she and Brian opened up their own farm in Vermont, where they were for two seasons. Enjoying the work, they moved to the Mandan area, and founded a local CSA, producing certified organic vegetables.
“CSAs are such a good way for a small farmer to support themselves,” Angie said.
The work is much more than just a steady salary though. It is a chance to build a symbiotic relationship within the community. Those who support the CSA have faith in the farmers, purchasing their shares before they have a finished product, while the famers are given a chance to feed the community with healthy produce.
Riverbound Farms also works on educating the public. Part of this education comes from various workshops on gardening that are held on the farm, or even the opportunity to participate in the farming experience. Part of the education is also just learning how to prepare and store the produce.
“It can take a couple of seasons to learn how to eat the food,” Angie said. “You have to be willing to eat vegetables and try new things.”
For the McGinnesses though, the experience has been very rewarding. In part, this has been because of the development of the community around the CSA. It also allows them to focus on their family.
“My favorite part of this is working with my husband and family,” said Angie. “It is a good honest living where we also get to feed and help others.”
This year has also been seen a change in Riverbound Farms. It will be the first year at their new location, a 40 acre farm. Currently, eight acres are being used for growing produce for the CSA, but there is room to expand.
There is also a larger push for sustainability. Unlike many other farms, Riverbound utilizes horses to help with the cultivation process. While tractors are also used on the farm, using horses has greatly helped reduce their consumption of other fuels.
“Besides saving us money, working with horses is a great pleasure,” Angie said.
This year, Riverbound is also bringing in two full-time interns to help with the entire process.
Currently, Riverbound Farms is selling a total of 200 shares. Many individuals decide to split the share between another, allowing nearly 300 families to participate in the CSA. Shares are sold until all are filled up, which usually occurs in the middle of spring.
Those who purchase a share receive 24 weeks of produce, starting in the middle of June. The season goes through Thanksgiving, with the last month largely consisting of storage goods, with some salad greens.
“We use a lot of season extension techniques,” said Angie.
For more information on Riverbound farms, call 701-202-9834 or go to www.riverboundfarms.com