Happy National CSA Sign-up Day!
Tomorrow is a day dedicated to encouraging consumers to support their local food community by buying a share of their local farm’s harvest for the 2015 season.
The adoption of CSA programs was introduced to the U.S. in the 1980’s and has since grown to more than 6,000 farms across the country. February 28th was chosen as National CSA Sign-up Day because it has typically been the most popular day to sign up for CSA shares, according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report.
Purchasing CSA shares in late winter is a huge benefit to local farmers because it is the time when they are making the capital investments for this year’s harvest. By securing funds now, it means they can rely less on costly credit and loans.
“CSAs are the most authentic connection between a farmer and eater available,” said Simon Huntley from Small Farm Central, a technology company that works with CSA farms across the country, and the creator of National CSA Sign-up Day. “This model is economically important to farmers, especially small and beginning farmers, because they can grow with confidence knowing that they have a market for their produce ahead of time.”
If you are new to the CSA world, here is a little rundown:
Community-supported agriculture (or CSA) is a bit of an umbrella term, but typically it works like this: Members purchase a subscription, and in return a farmer agrees to supply a box of food each week for a growing season. CSA farmers typically use organic or biodynamic farming methods, and strive to provide fresh, high-quality foods.
Each CSA is a little bit different, but pretty much all of them offer seasonal vegetables. Depending on the farm, boxes may also contain fruit, cheese, meat, or homemade bread and maybe even a surprise or two. Some CSAs deliver to your home or drop-off locations around town, while others require that you visit the farm.
A Few Reasons to join a CSA:
- To support local farmers or to eat locally
- The most obvious reason to join is for the farm-fresh produce
- You get to know your farmer and the people behind your food
- Your weekly CSA box will introduce you to new varieties of produce
- It’s also a great way to make sure you get a variety of nutrients and the best tasting produce for your home
- When providing a farmer with working capital in advance, Seeders can rest easy with financial security and focus less on generating new business and more on growing great food!
CSAs of The Collective
These LET um EAT Seeders offer CSAs around Oregon. Follow the links below to learn more about their programs.
Vibrant Valley Farm, Portland
Full share (every week) or half share (every other week) June through October. Fresh produce from the farm in Sauvie Island, plus possible recipes, fresh flowers, chutneys and jams. Multiple neighborhood drop spots around Portland. Vibrant Valley Farm CSA information.
Our Table Cooperative, Sheridan
Summer, fall or winter shares. Individually sized so you can choose how much to receive depending on the size of your family. Multiple pick up locations around Portland. Our Table CSA information.
Minto Island Growers, Salem
Regular or partial shares, 22 weeks through the main season. Salem and Portland drop locations. Includes various vegetables blueberries & strawberries from the farm, grapes and apples from other farmer friends. Minto Island Growers CSA information.
Naked Acres, Portland
One share size option, 22 weeks long. Includes seasonal produce, occasionally handmade goat milk soap, farmer made preserves & optional add-ons like eggs, chickens and locally roasted coffee. Two options to participate: receive a weekly box or have an account from which to deduct at the weekly farmers markets at a discounted price. Naked Acres CSA information.
Gathering Together Farm, Philomath
Gathering Together Farm’s CSA has been around since 1996! They grow over 40 different crops in 100 varieties and offer 12 different pick-up locations in Portland, Corvallis, Newport and Yachats and on the farm in Philomath. Gathering Together Farm CSA information.
Fields Farm, Bend
Large or small share options available. A great variety of vegetables from the farm. Season will start in April/May. Fields Farm CSA information.
Juniper Jungle Farm, Bend
Small, medium or large sized shares, season is 18 weeks long. Farmers market or farm pick up options.
Pay in full by April 1 and get a 5% discount. Juniper Jungle Farm CSA Information.