A friend of mine and I went in on a CSA together. Community Supported Agricultur

@writersedge (22579)
United States
January 28, 2012 10:39am CST
Instead of the farmer going to the bank for a loan. People contract to prepay for veggies. That way the farmer can know how much to grow, have a market for it, and not have to take out a loan for seeds, fertilizer, etc. It works out well for the farmer. It works out well for the consumer, too. Here we can either pre-pay for a large amount of veggies per week (usually vegetarians do this) to get 10 veggies a week. Or we can contract and pay for a small amount which is 5 veggies per week. Large works out to $25 a week and small to $15 a week. Fresh picked on the day of the CSA market. It's wonderful! We're splitting the cost of a small amount so it will be $7.50 a week for us each. My friend and I have been buying veggies from the lady who has the spring, summer, fall CSA. 20 weeks of veggies. Right now, We're only buying 3 a week and having to really work at using all the veggies we split. So this summer, I will either eat more veggies or donate the fresh food I can't eat to a food bank that has refrigerators. The week we're in, we have cabbage, onions, and turnip. So I know I will have veggies for 20 weeks and my husband or my friend can pick them up each week. My husband on the way back from work. So do CSA's sound like a good idea to you? Have you ever belonged to one? Is there one near you? I like taking the middle man out of my veggies to get a better deal. I like the farmer being able to take the banker out of the situation, too. I like guaranteed veggies for 20 weeks.
8 responses
• Philippines
29 Jan 12
That's great news. In Davao City, we still don't have community supported agriculture like that where you give advance payment to farmers, but organic farmers here do try to participate in markets that provide stalls for organic produce. The City, however, has an Organic Agriculture Ordinance that regulates farming, including the application of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides and the strict prohibition against the entry of genetically modified organisms or GMOs into the City. CSA is a spin-off of the organic movement. In Japan, they have a variation called the Teikei System. In the Teikei System however, the consumers, usually organized as a cooperative, are more involved with the farmers and with farming. It is considered desirable for the consumers in the partnership to visit the farm every weekend and help the farmers with farm work. Production planning - including such matters as what to produce, when to produce, how much to produce and assured price, what organic inputs to use - is done jointly by both consumers and farmers. The farmers deliver the produce to the cooperative. And when there is a surplus, the consumers, through their cooperative, help sell the surplus produce. This way, the Teikei System nurtures the farmers, the consumers, and the environment, together and at the same time.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
30 Jan 12
Sounds terrific except I'm not sure how much land is good in Japan since the meltdown of their nuclear reactor. The Farmer I contracted with said we can visit her farm any time within reason (like not 2 o'clock in the morning). We can choose and pick our own veggies if we want. If there is a veggie preference, she'd like to know now. I like variety. That's my preference. Not everyone has time to help out farmers and some people don't have time to pick. She's almost 40 miles away from me, but she goes to a city 24 miles away from me, where my husband works, to deliver food. So he will pick it up on the way back home from work. But it is interesting to know of other systems. It costs thousands to be certified organic, so she jujst states natural. I think the "organic" system in some states is broken. Either too liberal in what they call organic or cost too much to be certified every year. About half of our farmers have gone out of business thanks to bank debt and government nutcase regulation. They aren't even represented because lawyers run our state and country. We did have one Governor, Patacki who owned a farm. We currently do have one person who goes to our state capital and lobbies for them. Sounds like your city does a nice job and you have great farmers there. Hope it continues. Take care and thanks for dropping by.
• United States
1 Feb 12
Just as some people buy with money, others "buy" with labor to be able get their fresh vegetables. That helps make people to be proactive in knowing how food is grown and cuts down on the price of labor that the farmer has to do or pay for. There are also places where you work for some and pay for some so that you still "pay" an equatable amount for your foods. Myself, I will be planting the whole back yard to be able to grow my own foods in as organic a way as possible. For a farmer to be certified as organic, they have to test at least every year for three years in a row and these test cost at least $1000.00 per test. Most small farmers cannot afford to certify with the cost of the test so high. I do not plan on selling my vegetables but if I have a surplus, I will try to preserve them for future consumption. If they are something that I cannot preserve, I will donate them to my neighbors so that we can become better neighbors.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
1 Feb 12
We have lots of pick and pays here. Every kind of berry you can do pick and pay plus one apple orchard has it. I'd do my own, but I'm doing chemo and energy levels and abilities are inconsistant right now.
@MaryLynn321 (2680)
• United States
29 Jan 12
Your CSA sounds great. I am not sure if we have any around here. That would be great. I do plant some vegetables in our own garden, but it would be nice to get somethings I don't grow. I can always can them or freeze them. It is good that you found someone to split the cost. Enjoy your fresh vegetables.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
Yes, $300 or $500 dollars all in one shot is a lot. But they let us put $100 down and pay a little until May first. So we did the on time say. Our soil isn't very deep so unless I have a truckload of soil brought in, we tend to have shallow veggies.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
If you contact a nearby cooperative extention, then they should know if there are any CSAs in your area.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 12
If you take and make a raised bed for your garden, all you would have to do is work up the ground where you would put the bed and then add soil to the top of the boards around the bed. You would not have to haul in as much soil. http://organicgardening.about.com/od/startinganorganicgarden/a/raisedbed.htm I am trying to get my husband to make raised beds for me. I am hoping one day he will go along with me on this.
@celticeagle (114155)
• Boise, Idaho
30 Jan 12
A CSA does sound like a good idea. Something needs to be done to help our farmers. I live in a farming state and I wonder if this is going one here in some areas. The price is good too. We have a Co-op here which is nice but I don't have a membership.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
30 Jan 12
There is probably a cooperative extention in your area. They can often tell you if there are any CSAs in your area. They may even have a grange or something where the farmers go and they would also know.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (114155)
• Boise, Idaho
30 Jan 12
I will have to check into it.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
31 Jan 12
Let us or me know if there is one. Many people here are saying they're not sure what their area farms offer. It might be a good idea to let them know to check Cooperative Extensions to find out what is out there.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
28 Jan 12
I haven't heard of anything like that around here but it sounds like a great option! For everyone. I would participate for sure if there was something like that around here. I can see how it would really help the farmers out! They know what they need to produce and, like you said, they don't have to go in debt to do it.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
It's awesome. I found out there is another one in another town. I really think that is the wave of the future. I feel so much better eating fresh picked veggies.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
29 Jan 12
That's another perk! Fresh picked without the scare of pesticides and preservatives! If they use them, at least you have the chance to know what they are.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
She has invited all CSA members to visit her farm. We can also pick what we want if we're in the area.So it's awesome.
@GreenMoo (11842)
28 Jan 12
CSAs are a wonderful idea, and one which benefits both the consumer and the farmer. We don't have one locally, and I probably wouldn't join it even if there was as we grow most of our own veggies, but it's an idea which I definitely support.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
Things change and it's good to know about lots of things. Some people start out doing veggies just for themselves, their children move away and then they start selling at roadside stands, then Farmers' Markets and then the next thing you know, for restaurants or for contract CSA. So this information might be good for you or a friend in the future.
@GreenMoo (11842)
29 Jan 12
CSAs are definitely increasing, but I have not heard of one around here. A friend of mine who owns a farm has been trying to set one up recently, but was having difficulties getting enough subscriptions.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
It does take a long time. The person we contracted with does the Farmers' Market thing once a week plus this. It will take years before she can just do this. Until then, she has FM as a back up plan as well as a roadside stand. Word-of-mouth in the Farming community isn't very good. Our Cooperative extention helps people get the word out. Also our newspaper and some of the surrounding papers have done full page articles on CSAs. We also have Adirondack Harvest which is a council devoted to helping farmers in our region. So we have 3 things: Cooperative Extention Newspaper Support Adirondack Harvest-an upper NY State Farming assist group Your area should have the first 2 and may have its own version of the second one. So your friend may want to start with the first one and see if she gets anywhere. There is a localvore movement that is starting up in some places. Ours is in its infancy. Our TV station did a little on that. To let us know that wheat and a wheat mill has started up in our area. It's 50 miles away from me, but still good to know because in the summer we could probably buy 50 lb bags on flour when we go to the old time crafters' show if I'm well enough this year. It takes 3 to 5 years to get anything started so tell her to keep trying. Our CSAs didn't have much to start with, but now they are online, in the newspaper, and being sponsored by a regional plan. So keep encouraging this person and I'll pass on any help that I can.
@buddha3 (1029)
• India
29 Jan 12
I've visited almost similar consumer co-operative, but I don't think they pay the farmers in advance for the produce. So I feel it's a good concept, a new one, at least for me. It would be great if more and more people step into CSA and help the farmers. Meanwhile, it becomes farmers' responsibility to supply the produce as per agreement and not sell it somewhere else for more price!!
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
This is her second year of doing it. She doesn't sell it for more. That is a good point, we lock in the cheaper prices for 20 weeks.
@ElicBxn (60044)
• United States
29 Jan 12
No I haven't, but it sounds like a good deal. there's a couple who sometimes posts food they get from someplace on freecycle that I picked up for Maggiepie. Had 4 ears of corn, had some other stuff and I used it all for her, a couple of ugly but eatable squashes... I think it sounds like a good idea - wonder if I could find something like that - onion, cabbage and turnip is a good start on my veggie soup!
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Jan 12
Yes, this week's produce is a good root and cabbage soup. That was nice of you to pick that up for Maggiepie. Our Cooperative Extension has a map of farms and what they offer in our area online. Not sure which other places have that, too.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90133)
• Marion, Kansas
28 Jan 12
I have not heard of that around here. One nice thing here is that at the Senior Center you can get vouchers for money to spend at the farmer's markets if you are over sixty. Helps the elderly and it helps the farmers as well. You can only buy fresh produce, not baked goods. You can buy honey.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
28 Jan 12
We have that here, too. But only from July on. Our state is sooo slow. The markets start in June. They don't give the elderly very much for vouchers either. Like $20 for the entire summer.