February 23rd is CSA Day 2018!
What is CSA and why should you get involved? CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, is a business model for farmers that helps them sell directly to customers. In a traditional CSA membership, the customer pays the farmer in advance for a season’s worth of products. It’s different than buying your groceries from a store or famers’ market because a CSA is a seasonal commitment to a farmer.
The annual CSA Day promotion began in 2015. After the Pennsylvania-based organization, Small Farm Central, learned from their 2014 CSA farming Annual Report that the most successful day for CSA signups was February 28th, they held the first annual CSA Day on February 28th, 2015.
On CSA Day, farmers promote local agriculture and the CSA model, and some even offer discounted signups and promotions to foster the growth of the CSA model. “It’s a whole day dedicated to the celebration of community-supported agriculture,” reads the CSA Day website.
This year, Vancouver Islanders can celebrate CSA with Sweet Acres Farm and Vitality Farm of the Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op. They’ll be promoting the traditional CSA subscription model and “educating the general public in the Langford/Colwood and Victoria areas on the concept and values behind the CSA model of farming, and why it is important,” says Ariella Falkowski, owner of Sweet Acres Farm and Lohbrunner Community Farm Co-op member.
Though they won’t be offering any discounted shares for CSA day 2018, these two farms will be combining their harvests for the first time to offer a CSA Harvest Share Program. The program will run from July 12th to October 18th, with members picking up their products every Thursday between 4:00 and 6:00 pm from a downtown location or from right on the farm.
“Members will arrive to see a market style spread of produce set up for them. They will choose items based on what we have made available that week,” says Falkowski. “However we still stress that this will be seasonal eating, and the produce available will reflect (the delicious) seasonal availability.” Cost for this CSA is $500.00 for on the farm pick up or $560.00 for downtown pickup. “We encourage anyone interested in healthy, delicious, seasonal eating; organic farming practices; or supporting local food production and farmers to consider joining our CSA – as this is a great way to support these values!” says Falkowski.
CSA Day is important for small farmers. “it helps to promote CSAs in general and a key concept of the CSA model in particular—which is that of supporting a farm financially early in the year, thus allowing farmers to purchase supplies needed for the growing season ahead,” says Falkowski. She adds that CSAs are “building a great relationship and connection between eater and farmer. We think it really is a great model for supporting small scale farms!”
You can sign up for the CSA Harvest Share and get your season’s worth of groceries here.