Over the last 33 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share
consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. During the
summer, shareholders will come once a week to pickup their boxes of vegetables and fruits from our daily farm stand. You will get a mixed box of whatever is being picked that week. The produce will change as the season changes weekly.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief...
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow and goes toward seed purchasing in January
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
It's a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs, and in some areas of the country
there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it.
This mutually supportive relationship between local farmers, growers and community members helps create an economically stable farm operation in which members are assured the highest quality
produce, often at below retail prices. In return, farmers and growers are guaranteed a reliable market for a diverse selection of crops.
Your support of us is support of sustainable agriculture here in the heart of suburbia, where the challenges
to making a viable farm enterprise are considerable. Be green, encourage food safety and security, and become more connected to the natural world by being connected to our garden/farm – a place where excessive rainfall, drought, ladybugs, cutworms,
woodchucks and monarch butterflies are closely observed – and to us, who succeed or fail based on our skill and luck at participanting in this web of life.
Supporters cover a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season's
harvest. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season, and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer or grower. Members help pay for seeds, fertilizer, water, equipment
maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy supply of seasonal fresh produce throughout the growing season. Becoming a member creates a responsible relationship between people and the food they eat, the
land on which it is grown and those who grow it.
Shareholders do not know what they are getting in advance, but they know it will be nutritious seasonal local bounty. Enjoy fresh picked vegetables throughout the season and help us preserve open
land in the area.
Beyond ensuring that small farms like ours exist, there are benefits to the members. It is a good deal financially. We don’t add extra costs for the delivery, packaging materials, or the newsletter. The box
contents are planned according to market value and we often go over, but try not to too much as the number one reason most people will drop out of any given CSA is due to receiving more produce than they are able to consume.
There are benefits
to the community as well. Economically, the dollars are kept within the community. Environmentally, less fuel is used to transport food and because we (as are most CSAs) are growing organically, there are no harmful chemicals used in our system.
One of our many goals as farmers is to introduce more people to the joys of preparing meals from scratch with fresh ingredients. It is reported that increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet is more beneficial to your health than decreasing fat
and sugar. The fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious should make that easy.