The EarthDance Pay What You Can Farm Stand opens May 3, 2024

By Jess Coffin

Photo: EarthDance Operations & Farm Stand Manager Margaret Gerker and Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator Alisha Harris are two of the friendly faces you’ll see regularly at the Pay What You Can Farm Stand at 233 S. Dade Ave. in Ferguson.

Pandemic pressures have eased for many, but food insecurity continues to rise. The EarthDance Organic Farm School team wants you to know they’re right here in Ferguson, they’re growing fresh food with love, and they want to share it with you!

The EarthDance Pay What You Can Farm Stand aims to improve local access to nutritious food. The farm stand emerged in 2021 as a resource during the pandemic. EarthDance offers organically grown fruits and vegetables for whatever a person can pay – nothing, a discounted price, retail value, or pay it forward with a donation.

Margaret Gerker, EarthDance Operations and Farm Stand Manager, has been with the farm stand since 2021. She sees the Farm Stand’s success in its patronage statistics. “Our neighbors are who we set out to serve through our farm stand.” In 2023, 1 in 4 customers were Ferguson residents, and 60% live in North County. Gerker adds, “We want to make sure that people who need the discount know that’s why we’re here. There are systemic inequities, so healthy food is easier for some folks to get than others. At the same time, we’re asking people with more resources to pay it forward because that is what’s necessary for this setup to work. Our hope is that people will feel a sense of connection to the food and the work – we‘re all in this together.”

For Outreach Coordinator Alisha Harris, the Farm Stand is more than a place to find fresh produce; it’s a hub of community connections. 2024 will mark the Farm Stand’s fourth season. It’s Alisha’s second, and she feels deeply connected to this work. “When someone can hand me whatever they have and then walk away with a bag of produce that I helped grow, I’m connected with them and our community.” Margaret and Alisha spearheaded a robust 2023 season, organizing an array of engaging farm stand activities like cooking demonstrations, eco-crafting, yoga, children’s story hour, and more. In 2024, the team aims to grow and share more fresh food, imparting valuable knowledge and skills for healthier living with a focus on cooking and play. “We want people to taste the food,” Alisha said. “I love seeing their faces light up! People can see that, ‘This is healthy, but it tastes amazing! And it’s affordable!’” As for play, Alisha said, “Everyone has an inner child – you’re never too old for wonder and joy.”

 As they prepare to open their doors for the season at 3pm on May 3, 2024, the EarthDance team invites people of all ages to join them at the farm, a space where learning and fun are as balanced and fruitful as the soil.

Subscribe to their monthly email newsletter on their website at www.earthdancefarms.org and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @earthdancefarms.org

May – November Farm Stand Hours: Fridays 3 – 6pm, Sundays 11am-3pm
EarthDance Organic Farm School, 233 S. Dade Ave., Ferguson, Missouri 63135