What is Community Supported Agriculture?
One of our first time CSA members, Laura, describes her experience:
Being a member of a CSA is like Christmas once a week! I look forward to the gifts I will find in my box and the joy of planning meals around those gifts. The amount of veggies and the variety are perfect for my husband and I. We end up only buying our protein at the grocery store. Our dinners break away from our usual, routine meals. We truly eat better and are more excited about what is on the menu for the week. The best part of being a member is supporting those who are committed to bringing us locally grown, fresh from the garden food. (Thanks Laura, we dig you too.)
When you buy a CSA from us we will give you a box of food every week. Here is the breakdown of how it works at Old Wells Farm:
You – “pledge your support” by purchasing your CSA share.
OWF – orders seeds and soil, heats the greenhouse, and buys other supplies to get those seeds growing, with the money from your CSA purchase.
You – come to either the farm or Gorham pickup location every Wednesday to get a bag full of our best and freshest produce picked from the fields that morning (your share). You can expect to have greens and an herb every time along with a bounty of whatever other veggies are in season that week.
OWF – sends a newsletter each week filling you in on whats going on at the farm and letting you know what will be in the share with recipe ideas. We invite you to make suggestions and comments throughout the season. We plan some get togethers so everyone can meet each other and get to know the farm.
You: Give us your feedback about the season and possibly join our Winter CSA.
OWF: Puts the fields to sleep, keeps up production in our high tunnel for the Winter CSA, and works on expansion projects.
and the cycle repeats…
The whole farm share CSA idea came about as a reaction to the modern industrial food complex. Producers of food stuffs targeted the housewife – whose life they portrayed as frazzled and heavy with the constant burden of trying to just keep the dust off the mantle. Instant soups, vitamin enhanced white bread, spreads, sauces, and TV dinners were all touted as the cure for the insufferable drudgery of the housewife, who was already up to her ears keeping hubby’s slacks wrinkle-free.
But as the list of ingredients in bread grew so too did the public concern for real food. The modern iteration of the CSA bloomed to life sometime in the 1960’s over worldwide concerns about food safety and origin. What happened to simply vegetables and meat? When did“cooking” become replaced with “slaving in the kitchen”? Who had Monogluphosate Di-whateversauce in their pantry?
To take the power back from these companies, to resist the narratives they use to shackle the consumer, and to connect to the traditions of cooking and farming – that is the thrust of the CSA.
Buying food like this restores the power of the consumer as well as the farmer. There’s accountability – someone to take to task if you aren’t satisfied with the Sungolds. There’s reliability – a solid income stream for the farm to count on during the leaner months and a steady flow of ripe vegetables for the consumer. And there’s a real connection – a chance to set right something that has been destroyed, the link between people and what they eat.