Why CSA? Community Supported Agriculture is a way to support local, build community and eat healthier. Community Supported Agriculture is a program that is both beneficial for the farmer, and for those who are enjoying the fresh produce and eggs. Many people want the fresh, organic produce that comes from local farms. They get excited about the idea of reducing their carbon footprint, supporting local agriculture and feeling healthier. However, in order for this food to be available, in order for the farmer to return year after year to the market, the farmers need YOU! Like any business, without loyal support, the business will fail.
CSA programs help the small farmer in many ways including guaranteeing that they will be around from year to year and it allows the farmer to gain some front-loaded funds in order to purchase seed, tools and other supplies for the upcoming season. During good seasons, the members receive a huge bountiful harvest, much more than what they paid for (our CSA members received 17-24% more produce last year! And that was “one of the worst years in Colorado’s History”), and during down years, the farmer is supported through these tough times and the member can be assured that their produce was grown in a sustainable way and that other years will more than make up for this season.
It is estimated that out of ten years there may be one down year, four average years and five bountiful years. Of course, much of this depends on weather patterns etc., but the majority of it falls to the responsibility of the farmer. Does the farmer plant extra “just in case?” Does the farmer utilize hoop-houses and row-cover to protect from frosts, hail and wind? Does the farmer utilize dry-land agriculture techniques to prepare for drought? We do all of those things, so our potential for great seasons is much higher than many of the expectations.
There are some greater reasons, to us, however, to be a part of a CSA. Sure, you get to eat in season, learn new recipes and be healthier. Sure you get to support the local food movement and feel good doing it, but there is something else about a CSA membership that goes beyond just the food. To us, the most important aspect to joining a CSA is the people you meet and the community you develop as a member. There are not many opportunities to meet like-minded individuals in such a neutral atmosphere as you do with a CSA program. During the pick-up times most members hang around and chat. This time is spent meeting with the farmer and the other families that have the same values. Volunteer days, discounts, eating in-season, experiencing new foods and recipes, classes and more are all perks of being a member of a CSA and worth every penny. In addition, when CSA members volunteer, they get extra produce and more importantly, they get the feeling and satisfaction that comes with contributing to their food and to the local community in a very tangible way that is larger than themselves.
In short, being a member of a CSA is an experience that the majority of people in this world will never experience, and it is something that can be exhilarating, rewarding and life-changing. In the end, however, it's about what you make of it. Can you get a CSA from a farm out in California? Sure. Can you get one from one far out on the other side of Colorado? Sure. But what do you gain if you don't get involved, learn the farm, share the dream, meet some great friends?
Will you be joining a local CSA this year? Will you support our local agriculture? Will you help the small farmer? Will you meet other like-minded people and develop relationships and build an incredible community around yourself, all while eating and feeling better and being a part of something bigger than you?
We hope so. We know you will be happy you did!