What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA’s are a means of creating a mutually beneficial connection between consumers and their farmers. Community members who want to support a local CSA farm can buy a subscription from the farm early in the season. In turn, once the season is under way, members receive weekly bounty from their farm. The bounty depends on how many members the farm supports and what the farm is able to produce.
How This Works
Once you decide you want to sign up, you need to make a few decisions. First, you need to decide whether the regular or large share is right for you. (If you need help deciding, please check “What size share is right for me?” on our FAQ’s page.) Next, you need to choose a pick-up day and location. Members must keep that day and location throughout the season. Sorry, no switches. Next, you need to fill out a registration form and send it in with your payment. Then you wait for an email confirmation saying that your registration is complete. Rejoice!
Members will receive an email or phone call in late May, informing them of the impending arrival of the first harvest. Pick-ups should begin in the first or second week of June and continue through the middle of October.
At your first pick-up and as often again as needed, David and I will walk you through the process. Produce and choices will be posted. You bag your own produce with staff present to assist you. You can bring your own bags. We also bring re-used, clean, handled plastic bags for folks to use if they forget their own.
How Farmers Benefit
By supporting local farmers directly, you eliminate the middle person, thereby moving agriculture towards a livable wage. Having share money up-front, early in the season, prevents the growers from having to borrow money to pay wages or purchase supplies. Normally, the bills start coming in January, but the income doesn’t arrive until June. Knowing how many families to grow for, the growers can concentrate on crops that are pre-sold and not waste time, energy and earth’s resources, speculating.
We would be liars if we also didn’t admit that direct contact with our members saves us during the season. Farming is incredibly hard, non-financially rewarding work. It is crucial for us to interact with our members on a weekly basis and reap the rewards of our business through your friendly faces, positive comments and useful suggestions. In the casual atmosphere of the pick-up site, members learn more about life on the farm, food preparation, planting cycles and pest management. We, in turn, learn more about teaching, medical school, engineering, social activism, marketing and immigration law.
How Members Benefit
How the Environment Benefits
Locally grown produce is distributed with minimal waste of fossil fuels. Certified organic growing methods improve soil fertility, thus assuring sustainable crops for years to come. By not using any synthetic pesticides or herbicides, the soil remains ‘alive’ with vital microbes that promote plant growth, thereby eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizers. Supporting an organic farm in your community makes you a steward of your local land. No herbicides on the land means no chance of them sneaking into our water supply. You can sleep well at night knowing that the food you eat is helping to healthily re-establish the headwaters of the LaPlatte River.
So What's the Catch?
Joining a CSA means making a commitment to the process. You receive super fresh food at a discounted price. In return, you agree to endure certain limitations:
**** New in 2009: Members can collect pre-packed, ‘missed’ shares, (a $5 packing fee will be charged,) from our cooler in Hinesburg. This offer will last as long as it works. Only a limited # will be available each week.