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A quick bit on CSAs

December 15, 2009
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I wanted to write this message with the hopes that there were others new to the city like me, unaware of what a CSA was until recently. I had heard the acronym thrown around a lot as a desired way of supported sustainability efforts, but I didn’t really listen or comprehend what was all involved. A friend of mine recently explained it to me in simple terms, and you know, it sounds like a wonderful way of getting healthy, nutritious foods while supporting the local food market. My only concern is maybe (hopefully) they’ll create a few more cost-friendly ways of paying for this venture (instead of the upfront costs of $400-600 a season). Regardless, I am interested, so sign me up! Here’s more information from the organization Just Foods

“CSA allows city residents to have direct access to high quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October or November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood.

CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront (typically $400-$600). This early bulk payment enables your farmer to plan for the season, purchase new seed, make equipment repairs, and more. Shares usually include 7-10 types of vegetables, enough for a family of 2-3 people. Most CSAs also offer half shares for smaller households or busy New Yorkers who frequently eat out.

Many CSAs also offer the option of other produce from local farms. For a few extra dollars a week, in addition to your vegetables, you can add fruit, eggs, meat, and even flowers to your order. Most CSAs have a variety of payment plans to enable members flexibility in paying for their shares. Some CSAs can arrange payments in installments, accept food stamps, offer sliding scale fees, and provide scholarship shares.

Neighborhood CSA groups are run by members. A rotating core group of volunteers take on much of the administrative management of the CSA. This can include signing up new members, collecting members payments, running the distribution site, and planning community-building or educational events. This frees up the farmers to focus on growing and delivering the vegetables.

A Note about Winter Shares: A CSA season typically runs from June through November. However, some farmers offer winter shares that come with a variety of root vegetables and greens. Contact your CSA directly to find out if your farmer offers winter shares.

WHY JOIN A CSA? Buy Local. Eat well. Be healthy. Protect the Environment.”

To join a CSA, go to <http://justfood.org/csaloc&gt;.



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