Choosing the side of community gardens – Conscious Harvest
“We started off with just a couple pissed off people in a field. We’re still in the field, but there are lot more of us.”
Megan Govindon is the new President of Conscious Harvest. In 2014, they started as a group of WVU students angry about the food crisis in West Virginia. They got land donated by the Hastings family to start a small garden. The garden became 27 plots, sold to local community members — the only community garden in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Then they partnered with farmers on a CSA for low-income families, funded by revenue from garden plot rentals. 7 CSA shares has become 35 CSA shares; over time, they partnered with a new local FARMacy project to have doctors prescribe healthy produce to help tackle the cost and location barriers for local families.
Last year, they launched their first value added product: Conscious Heat, a limited run dried pepper and salt mix..with 100% West Virginia ingredients. A new partnership with FirstHand, a student-led coffee co-op, has added two more items to their line.
Along the way, they realized how hard it was for local food producers to navigate outdated laws and regulations. In addition to advocating on the Cottage Food and Local Food Procurement Laws, they’ve also started work on a new commercial incubator kitchen..renovating it from the inside out, with help from the families at the SHAC Neighborhood House who receive the CSA’s.
Number of staff people working at Conscious Harvest? Zero.
“We make time,” says Megan.
There are two economies in West Virginia. In the wasteful economy, we the people send huge tax subsidies to out of state companies so they can the suck us dry.
In the efficient economy, communities like Conscious Harvest move mountains, with nothing.
Imagine a government that favored efficiency over waste, West Virginians over Wall Street, hungry kids over Big Ag. Now let’s go build it.
See some of our plans to address these issues here: