The idea of a community- supported agriculture cooperative grew
from a whisper to a buzz in a matter of days last spring.
"Last year, we were expecting only 50. It was a miracle we were
able to accommodate 100 shareholders," says Andy Yoo, general
manager of Doalnara Organic Farm in Dover. "God blessed us."
Doalnara Organic Farm was
founded in 1995 to support the more than 100 people — mostly Korean
— who live full-time at Doalnara Restoration Society, a Christian
community committed to hard work, a simple life, and cultivating
healthy minds and bodies.
"Growing crops in 100 percent natural way was not an easy work,"
says the farm's Web site, http://www.doalnaraorganicfarm.com/. "We have many
setbacks and disappointments over whimsical climate and rocky field.
Nevertheless, we were able to overcome by hard work, patience and a
firm determination to restore our soil, health and minds."
As the farm grew and prospered, Doalnara began shipping its
organic produce to other states for sale in grocery stores. Organic
vegetables are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or
Last spring, Catherine Smith was struggling to establish an
organic community garden for the members of St. John's Episcopal
Church, when she heard about Doalnara Organic Farm in Dover, about
an hour's drive from Clarksville. Smith visited the farm with her
husband, the Rev. Patrick Smith, and friendship blossomed between
the Smiths and the Doalnara farmers.
The Community Supported Agriculture Co-op was born, and soon 100
people had purchased shares in the farm and dozens of others were on
waiting lists to receive weekly deliveries of organic produce.
"I'm happy to know so many people enjoy and appreciate our
produce," Yoo says. "It's very energizing."
Catherine Smith says the project brings vegetables to locals.
tables just hours after they were growing at Doalnara, avoiding the
pre-ripened picking and weeks of shipping and storage that most
imported produce suffers.
Throughout the growing season, vegetable assortments will change.
Because Doalnara had its Clarksville customers in mind when making
its spring plantings this year, the new assortment will include
vegetables more familiar to Americans and fewer Korean favorites
such as perilla leaf.
"We're trying to meet the preferences of American people," Yoo
says. "We'll have more broccoli, lettuces."
The Rev. Patrick Smith points out, in a letter to last year's
co-op members, that the CSA is more than a vegetable delivery
"By being a member of the Clarksville CSA, you are choosing to
actively participate in the life of Doalnara Organic Farm," Smith
writes. "Clearly we are supporting local farming. But more than
that, you are, in a way, purchasing a 'share' in a company in which
you are a part owner. In this case of Doalnara, however, your
dividend or return is not monetary, but rather it is health and
When crops are overflowing the farm's 40 acres, members reap the
benefit. However, when growing conditions are poor, the yields
suffer. Yoo explains that the other people who live at Doalnara
Restoration Society stepped in last August when dry heat caused the
farm's productivity to dwindle.
"Usually, it is not easy to keep growing greens due to the hot
weather. There isn't any guarantee in farming," Yoo says. "We didn't
have anything green except for peppers. But all the people in our
community have their own gardens. They had a lot of vegetables, and
they supported us."
CSA members' boxes last August contained not only peppers from
Doalnara Organic Farm, but an abundance of other vegetables from
Restoration Society residents' private gardens.
The non-profit farm has 20 full-time farmers overseen by farm
manager Kap Lee. This year the CSA will have a new director, Shay
Eastwick-Cupina, who is a health coach and nutritionist in
"We're so happy Shay and Catherine are there for us as agents for
this well-being movement. We have no doubt they are great gifts of
God," Yoo says. "We had a very exciting year last year. I'm so happy
to see the finest people of our community again this year. We have
the same purpose — to make the world brighter."