Growing Freshness and Convenience

VEGGIEVERMONT - Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a method allowing farms to have a financial commitment from subscribed consumers, thus providing a periodical produce delivery service to those members. People essentially buy in, then farm receives some capital and the assurance they have a market to sell their products. Once the connection is made between farm and consumer, the customer becomes a shareholder and then receives apart of that harvest. 

 

Pete’s Greens is a certified organic, four season, vegetable farm in Craftsbury, Vermont. They operate a CSA program, titled Good Eats CSA

Taylar Foster, CSA manager at Pete’s Greens says their CSA program a operates year round since they are a year round farm, other CSA’s may operate differently. 

“CSA’s really started as a guarantee that a farmer would have a place to sell their products,” said Foster. “Despite what might happen with weather, pests, or any of the other unknowns that might come up in a given farming season.” 

Erin Buckwalter is the Market Development Director for the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) 

“A CSA is basically a direct relationship between a farm and consumer, the consumer signs up for a season worth of - often produce - but it can be other things from the farm.” The consumer now becomes a shareholder and has a commitment to the farm. 

“One of the reasons why its good for the farm is they know they have a customer for the whole season, so they know its dependable.” 

These shareholders help the farmer to have the capital to purchase supplies for the upcoming season.

On a consumer basis, this seems to be the answer to the question, "Where does our food come from?"

“I think for share holders, theres lots of great benefits, you get to go to the farm and actually see how the food is being grown. So you’re a little bit more intimately aware of the production practices that the farmer is using.”

Additionally, it benefits farmers to build the connection as well. 

“For us it’s really important to have that direct connection with the consumer, our model has always been to sell as direct to the people eating and using our food.”   

Additionally consumers can ensure they’re getting the freshest food. Some of which is even harvested within hours from when a consumer obtains their CSA. 

With 25-30 delivery sites in Central and Northern Vermont, Foster says Pete’s Greens is also spreading even further. “We are starting Vermont Farm Share, that will be delivered weekly to sites in Brooklyn. It will be the same vegetable that we are offering to our Vermont members.”

They decided to launch this program after taking a look at the lack of access to organic regionally grown vegetables in neighborhoods in Brooklyn. It will be the same vegetables that the Vermont Good Eats members obtain and the same concept with customers paying in advance, then going to a site to pick up their fresh produce.