Today is National CSA Sign Up Day 2016!
That means spring is on the way folks! And I for one can not wait!!
Signing up for a CSA is a wonderful way to support your farmers and to make a meaningful investment in Southeastern Indiana’s local food system.
It’s also a wonderful way to feed your family a variety of healthy, ultra fresh, local foods!
What is a CSA?
It’s sort of like buying a Gym membership, only tastier!
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Each CSA has their own set of rules and way of doing things, but they all share the same basic concept.
You, the eater, sign up for a membership and pay the farm for it in advance. Then each week during the growing season, you drive to the farm (or other designated location) and pick up your share of what the farm produces in the form of a yummy assortment of in season, farm fresh goodies!
Some CSA’s offer only produce, some only meat and some offer an assortment of both.
Why do you have to sign up in advance?
It’s a lot like an RSVP to a party.
By signing up in advance, the farmer has a much better idea of how much food they need to produce to meet the demand. This helps them to insure that the money they have invested in the food they are growing and their precious time, blood sweat and tears don’t go to waste.
This arrangement is beneficial to both the consumer and the farmer. It allows the farmer can plan ahead and the consumer can rest assured that their family will have access to fresh local food each week!
Why pay in advance advance?
Growing healthy, local food doesn’t happen for free. There are seeds to buy, tractors to maintain and fill with fuel, irrigation systems to pay for, rabbit proof fences to build, animal feed to purchase and more.
All those things cost money. And farmers have to pay for them weeks (or months sometimes) before they harvest the first vegetable or grow the first animal to market weight.
By paying in advance, you’re assisting the farm with it’s cash flow needs from the time the first seed is planted until the last crop is harvested.
You should also know…
When you sign up for a CSA, you are agreeing to share in some of the risk that goes along with farming. For example, if a huge hail storm takes out all of the kale or a nasty blight ruins the tomatoes, you won’t receive any.
But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Most CSA farmers take growing food for your family very seriously. They love to do it and do their best to reduce the risk. They also want to keep CSA members happy and well fed so they will remain loyal customers.
Along with sharing risk, most CSA farmers often share their bounty with their members as well. So don’t be surprised if the farm you partner with on National CSA Sign Up Day sneaks a few extras into your weekly share allotment when they harvest a bumper crop.
Click here to find a Southeastern Indiana CSA near you. It’s worthwhile investment in our local food system and in your families health!
Are you a local food lover or a proud Hoosier?
If you are, we hope you’ll keep in touch!