Is CSA right for me?

As I’ve been talking more and more with people about New Family Farm and what we hope to do this year — and for many more years to come — one of the things I notice is that some people just are not right for the CSA model. So I’ve been doing some thinking about who IS right for the CSA model – what kinds of people will be great partners for us in this farming endeavor. Here are some of those thoughts.

  • You like to cook OR want to cook more. The real treat of having fresh, organic food is the flavor, color, texture and freshness. Taking the time to prepare and eat it (or save it for winter) – especially with family and friends – is important to you.
  • You are open to seasonal and local eating. Spring is different than summer is different than fall, and every year is different. We’re in the middle of Iowa – which is different than California. This has big implications for what can be grown (reasonably) in our locale. As the season progresses, one crop comes into being, while another fades away. Some crops just do better (or worse) depending on temperatures, rainfall, and natural insect and disease populations. Each year is different. The important thing to keep in mind is your willingness to eat what naturally does well according to the environment and time of the year.
  • You are open to new foods. You will undoubtedly receive vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. If you are open to this, to take the opportunity to ask other members how they prepare unfamiliar foods or discover new recipes, you will do fine.
  • You want more than food for your money. Although you may save 10-30% on average buying food through the CSA when compared to ‘similar food’ available at retail prices, our members receive additional value. Part of the share cost goes toward maintaining and improving biological diversity (prairie reconstruction, tree and shrub planting, building bird and bat houses, and so on). We expect you to expect us to leave this farm in better shape than we found it.
  • You want to be a part of and support a different kind of food system. The dominant food system today provides cheap calories, concentrates wealth in the hands of corporations, depends heavily on food traveling many food-miles, and emphasizes low-cost and high profits over environmental and social well-being. We want to to be part of changing that, and by supporting us, you show that you want to change it, too. We’re tiny in the big scheme of things, but we believe that many small actions repeated by many people can lead to big change: healthier, happy families and communities.
  • Local is important to you. While population demographics are shifting in Iowa, small town values are not changing, and you want to support local businesses and the relationships that come from knowing the people around you. This extends to doing business with people you know and trust – your banker, insurance agent, grocer, doctor, vet, heating and cooling repairman, and farmer.

Thanks to Small Potatoes Farm for inspiring many items on this list!


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