I am looking into participating with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and I am interested in doing it for our family but also interested in looking at options for encouraging members of our church and community to do it as well. A new friend was telling me about her experience with helping a church become a drop-off site for a grower, and members of the community would come to the church to pick up their weekly produce. They had to gather something like twenty subscribers to qualify as a drop-off location, but it proved to be a wonderful connection between the church, their neighbors, and local farm.
Does anyone have experience doing this? Anyone in the Shoreline area interested in exploring this?
I grew up shopping at the Pike Place market with my parents, and we were on a first-name basis with the growers, sellers, coffee roasters (at a little storefront coffee shop called Starbucks), and butchers who supplied our home with food. Not to mention the artists and craftsmen whose pictures and utensils and jewelry we used. I also remember shopping at Safeway and QFC, but the market community was the place where I felt connected to what we bought and ate and used. I don’t see the massive carts at Costco giving my kids that same sense of connection to what we consume, and that is one of my motivations (not to mention great, fresh food!) in pursuing this.
From Local Harvest:
CSA reflects an innovative and resourceful strategy to connect local farmers with local consumers; develop a regional food supply and strong local economy; maintain a sense of community; encourage land stewardship; and honor the knowledge and experience of growers and producers working with small to medium farms. CSA is a unique model of local agriculture whose roots reach back 30 years to Japan where a group of women concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population initiated a direct growing and purchasing relationship between their group and local farms. This arrangement, called “teikei” in Japanese, translates to “putting the farmers’ face on food.” This concept traveled to Europe and was adapted to the U.S. and given the name “Community Supported Agriculture” at Indian Line Farm, Massachusetts, in 1985. As of January 2005, there are over 1500 CSA farms across the US and Canada.
CSA is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters which provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters cover a farm’s yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season’s harvest. CSA 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.