Big Train Farm in N Scituate, RI organic certified
Some of what we grow is available year-round.
N Scituate, RI
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Founded in 2008, Big Train Farm serves the Providence and Glocester areas through its CSA program, Farmers Markets, and Wholesale accounts. Our goals are to conserve RI's farmland, woodlands and rural communities and provide the best fresh and naturally-grown produce.
We accept SNAP/EBT benefits as payment for CSA shares.
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N Scituate, RI - In 2008, John Kenny leased three acres of land at the Urban Edge Farm in Cranston and created Big Train Farm. Mindy Walls joined the following year as the assistant manager. Together, John and Mindy grow 100 different varieties of crops from garlic to eggplants to heirloom tomatoes. With the limited land and the large diversity the Big Train operation is the definition of efficient. From this small acreage, Big Train supplies produce to several commercial accounts including Olga’s Cup and Saucer, Local 121, Farm Fresh’s Market Mobile, and the Brown Student’s Market Share.
Additionally, John estimates that their CSA subscriptions serve approximately two hundred people with 95 shares divided among full, half, and work shares. Big Train’s CSA is considerably unique in its method. In the lower level of Bell Street Chapel on the west side of Providence, John and Mindy set up a colorful display of Rainbow Swiss Chard, yellow summer squash, beets, green and white sweet onions, and fresh garlic all picked and washed earlier in the day. CSA members are given a credit each week to shop market style, so you can skip the kale if you want and get a few extra beets or pick up some extra salad mix for that cookout.
One of John’s strong points is his awareness of what is happening in the world of agriculture and his concern for conscientious farming and equality in food distribution. “We really need to look into the future of agriculture and how the local food movement and farm shares are going to be sustained.” John says the increased public awareness has helped a lot, but the next step is to look forward toward what may happen to many of the larger farms as the overall farming population ages and land becomes more difficult to obtain and sustain.
John’s concern for equality in access to healthy and fresh food is also high on his list of next steps. He and Mindy are looking into grants that would help them expand production and provide fresh produce to McAuley Village- a program that provides support and temporary housing for homeless single parents.
This may seem like an ambitious plan for someone who is already running a farm, but it is that ambition that gave John his start in farming. He did not grow up in a farming family. Rather, he found it a good venue for his motivation and his interest in learning more about the natural environment. Before starting Big Train, John spent ten years working at area farms as a farm hand, a manager, and he held a several internships.
Big Train’s commitment toward the future extends from people and farming to the soil and wildlife. Big Train uses organic farming methods and maintains soil quality through the heavy use of compost and natural fertilizer. There is a personal satisfaction, as well, in recognizing the joy of the natural environment- knowing what each month of the year is like and recognizing the songs of different birds. This commitment and joy, not to mention the hard work and long days, all shine through in the delicious and colorful produce available at local restaurants or through the Big Train CSA.