What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is sometimes described by people as a weekly vegetable box program. It is an economic model used by small farms to connect more directly with their customers while also providing more consistant capital required to run a farm. Customers purchase a share of the farm rather than individual vegetables. The price of each share is payed at the beginning of the season, with the farmer agreeing to provide the shareholders their portion of the farm’s produce every week throughout the growing season.
Purchasing a share in our farm means you get great local produce, and you help provide employment and job skills training for 10 high school students. As a co-owner in the farm, shareholders take on both the risk and the reward of each unique growing season. While we aim to provide our shareholders with a 30% discount on their produce compared to natural no-spray (non-certified organic) produce at a local farmer’s market, a good growing season will mean a little more food, and a difficult year will mean a little less.
A CSA farm isn’t just about mitigating risk or sharing in bounty. Another advantage to shareholders beyond the value and quality of their produce is in the regularity and seasonality of their vegetable use. Many of our members comment on the positive impact the farm has had on their family’s health. They more regularly eat fresh vegetables and cook more at home. There is also a true connection to the seasonal fluctuations of vegetables in Michigan. Supermarkets suggest to their customers that seasons don’t really exist, that it is possible to get any vegetable from somewhere in the world at any time. One of the first things our new members notice is the delicious taste of actual summer ripened tomatoes or the sweetness of frost touched carrots. No vegetable from anywhere else tastes better than a ripe vegetable grown right here.
In addition to vegetables, New City Farm provides weekly newsletters with recipes designed to help members use the vegetables available that week. Check out some of our recipe resources here. We offer cooking classes, and design our pickups for interaction with other shareholders, to help people learn more about enjoying the less commonly used vegetables. We even have a cafe attached to the farm for you to catch up with friends and neighbors. Many of our members have noticed the positive effect their share has had on their cooking.
Finally, joining a CSA makes a statement with your money. Not only would you be supporting local youth as they learn job skills, you would also caring for the environment. You would be investing in the local economy and making sure your money stays right here in the community. All of this can be accomplished while you receive delicious, healthy food for you and your family.