Shared Legacy Farms is a small, organic vegetable farm located in Elmore, Ohio, on 3701 S. Schultz-Portage Road. It was established in 2008, as a subsidiary of Bench Farms, St. Rte. 2 — a family farm serving the local community for 30 years. In an effort to carry the Bench farming legacy into the next generation, Kurt Bench, eldest son of David and Cindy Bench, returned to Ohio with his wife Corinna to direct a new program called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Their vision is to “bring the local farmer back to the kitchen table” — literally and figuratively. They are passionate about growing great produce and reviving a spirit of community through their farm — the kind of community that happens when you sit down at the kitchen table and eat together. Kurt and Corinna have two young sons, Jed (age 4) and Josiah (18 months), who love to farm and play tractors, and are an integral part of the farm operation.
Kurt brings over 15 years of experience growing plants and managing large-scale horticultural operations. And Corinna spent 12 years directing programming and adult volunteers for a large student ministry program. They have found that the CSA model is uniquely suited to their strengths and gifts. Although they love to grow vegetables, what really motivates them in their CSA is growing people and building connections and relationships. Anyone can grow vegetables. But they like the satisfaction of getting to know their customers, learning their stories, befriending their families, and seeing how their local product is enhancing their lives. Because that personal connection is so important to them, and because they know they lose that after they reach a certain size, they have decided to limit their CSA to 200 customers. Their goal is not to become “the biggest CSA around.” But they do want to be one of the best. They hope you’ll decide to join their family and help them get there.
2013 is an exciting year for the Benches, as for the first time, Kurt will become a full-time farmer. In their first year in 2008, they started with only 12 customers, and have managed to double in size every year since. They are now finally at the tipping point in their CSA enrollment where they can afford to leave their day-job, and farm full-time. It is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.