Shepherd’s Table is proud to partner with the Charles Koiner Conservatory (CKC), a local nonprofit managing Koiner Farm right in the heart of Silver Spring. The farm has faithfully donated produce and plant saplings to Shepherds table for over a year, highlighting the mutual commitment to community, sustainability, and food accessibility. Recently, several members of our staff visited for Summer Music on the Farm, a monthly gathering featuring live music, food trucks, and of course: delicious produce.
The mission of the Charles Koiner Conservancy is to “…protect and manage urban farms that inspire the next generation of food system innovators,” and they’re committed to growing nutrient-rich, healthy produce in as ethical a manner as possible. If you were to take a walk through Koiner Farms on any given day, you’d be greeted by rows of carefully nurtured fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Hand-painted garden signs and colorful rocks whimsically dot the property. Programming is centered around land stewardship, land management, and education. To engage youth in the mission, the farm hosts adolescent volunteers who work alongside skilled farmers and veteran volunteers. The land is permanently protected under a conservation easement that is co-held by CKC and the Maryland Environmental Trust, and the goal is to expand to other urban farms with longevity similarly protected.
As one tenant of their investment in the community, produce is donated weekly to Shepherd’s Table. Since the establishment of the conservation easement in 2019, CKC has donated over 2,018 pounds of food. The donations Shepherd’s Table receives are of the highest quality. The organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables enable our chefs to create the healthy, artful meals we love to serve to our guests. As Shepherd’s Table continues to develop our own urban garden, the support received from organizations like Koiner Farms has been invaluable. Speaking to the partnership, Executive Director Kate Medina shared, “As a small, community-led farm our quantity and (occasionally) attractiveness of produce varies. The amazing chefs at Shepherd’s Table are so creative and flexible. They are able to accommodate the range of variety, quantity, and yes, beauty, that we deliver. They also cook on-site just 4 blocks away from our farm, so produce is often harvested and delivered within just a few hours to achieve maximum nutrition for Shepherd’s Table clients.”
In the spirit of fostering and celebrating community, CKC hosts Summer Music on the Farm every month. Freshly harvested produce is sold at the event while neighbors stretch out on picnic blankets for live music on the lawn. The event is open and free to the public, and it’s a great introduction to the incredible environment Koiner Farms has created. You can attend the last event of the season on October 2nd from 3-6pm. If you’re interested in visiting or volunteering at Koiner Farms, visit ckcfarming.org. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support Shepherd’s Table in our commitment to providing sustainable, local nutrition for our guests, contact Jilna Kothary at [email protected].
Alongside our partners, Shepherd’s Table is committed to growing a plentiful world where the needs of every neighbor are met. Together, we’re harvesting something beautiful.