In 1985, Robyn Van En pioneered a new concept in North American farming at her Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, Mass. By selling shares of the projected harvest from her apple orchard to local customers, she ensured a stable income for the farm. In exchange, the farm's “shareholders” received a regular supply of fresh produce, and a sense that they were helping a local grower and voting with their dollars for ecologically sound agriculture. Modeled after similar programs in Europe and ...

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