Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) models grow from age old traditions of small scale food production: growers "sharing" freshly harvested foods directly with their local communities, in rhythm with the seasons and in harmony with the Earth.
But CSA departs from conventional economic thinking by asking he community to "share" in the up front capitalization of the farm, by buying "shares" in the harvest before the season begins. Some members even help with the farm work itself. This support spreads the risks and labors of the season with the growers, enhancing the long term success of the farm. However, each CSA is unique and tailored to the needs of it's community and region.
Because the Earth is a living being, the actions of every individual have an effect on the whole. The soil is the basis of all human life both now and in the future. Healthy soil means healthy food. When no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used, ground water pollution and toxic residues on food are avoided. CSA gives families a chance to choose how their food is grown.
Eating locally grown, freshly harvested organic food is the basis of a healthy diet. CSA offers an opportunity to reconnect with rhythms of nature by eating foods in season. (Such a diet happens naturally when a large portion of your food begins to come from a garden.) CSA provides a meaningful and satisfying way to reunite with the Earth, nourishing and restoring spirit and community.
CSA farms promote more than just great produce - they support committed and knowledgeable growers and their families who share the environmental and social concerns of their members. CSA farms offer learning experiences through tours, workshops, and seasonal apprenticeships. In addition, working members help with garden work, food harvest and distribution (in trade for food as well as to learn more about horticulture or other gardening skills). Regular newsletters also share seasonal happenings, current crops, and recipes to help members use the produce they receive. CSA farms recognize the need for community involvement in local farm survival.
CSA members generally like to cook and are not afraid to discover new and interesting foods to go along with the family favorites. They are willing to adjust dietary habits to accommodate the full range of fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. They are aware that production variations may occur (brought on by unique weather conditions) and they plan ahead for weekly food distribution.
Fresh foods provide flavor, nutrition, quality, and connection. Through food shares, CSA approaches ask community members to become involved in the seasonal production of their local food supply, insuring and inspecting first hand, food from the farm.
Our farming practices are perhaps best described as bio-dynamic, because of the emphasis on whole farm approaches, integration of animals, and preparations as homeopathic remedies to soil health. CSA farms integrate these concepts into broader community relationships.
Most of our planting, cultivation, pest control, and harvest, are done without large equipment. Crops are raised without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Soil fertility is maintained through composts, properly handled manure, rotations, and cover crops. Floating row covers, flowering plants, and beneficial insects help to control pests. Hand and tractor cultivation reduce weed pressure. Harvesting is done by hand. Crops are cleaned, prepared, packed, and refrigerated so as to preserve freshness and flavor. Produce is on your table for use within 8 – 30 hours.