Thursday, July 8, 2010

McAlevy's Fort, Pennsylvania: Plowshare Produce, Micah and Bethany

Travis was still feeling pretty ill when we made our next stop at McAlevy’s Fort near State College in PA. Not only were we going to interview two young farmers in the second year of their CSA, but we were spending the week working with them on their farm. We were desperate to get our hands in the dirt after talking to so many farmers and Bethany and Micah had a list for the 4 of us to knock out.

Arriving at the farm was the first sight of Micah I’ve ever had. Bethany I knew from being students together at Eastern Mennonite University. I was good friends with her sister Karen, and I knew from reading Bethany’s editorials in the school paper and hearing her speak publicly that Bethany had SOUL. Her poetry and perspective inspired me to bake bread, be kind, ride my bike, appreciate my surroundings and probably be a better version of myself in general. Back to the present…

Bethany and Micah met in Washington D.C. where Bethany was working for Mennonite Central Committee and Micah was teaching the third grade. They decided that they
#1 really liked each other and
#2 wanted to grow food.

They apprenticed on several farms before settling down two years ago on Bethany’s parent’s farm. They farm 2 acres of produce along with chickens and two plow horses and an adorable ornery donkey named Fred. Her parents make hay and keep dozens of sheep. They believe that a CSA connects the consumer to the farmers, and that’s good for everybody. Micah and Bethany are two of the kindest, gentlest, most fun loving people I know, and they pour themselves into their farm and their relationships with their community. They have a few customers who do work trade for their box of food, there are harvest parties and potlucks and they have created a "plowsharing fund" which provides a share through donations for someone who may not have been able to afford it otherwise.

Our week at Plowshare was filled with amazing meals and conversations, hard work, peaceful rest at the family’s cabin, and beautiful music brought to us by Micah and Bethany. Micah is an amazing guitar player and when they sing together it’s hard to hold back applause. They do a beautiful rendition of the Grateful Dead’s goodnight song and Trav and I have been singing it ever since we left.
You can see their farm website at


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