Community Supporting Agriculture: Big River Farms CSA

CSA PICK UP AT HEALTH FOUNDATIONS BIRTH CENTER

Have you ever been a part of a CSA? A CSA is most commonly defined as “Community Supported Agriculture.” However, I like to think of it as “Community SupportingAgriculture.” I got this from my dad, who along with my mom, started the first CSA farm in Colorado. I grew up farming there along with my family. Community SupportingAgriculture emphasized the active support that becoming a CSA member provides to local farmers, who definitely need the continuous support of the community to keep operating their small businesses. 

Farmer Mentor May Lee using the water wheel transplanter.jpg

Growing up on a CSA farm I learned a lot of about the support the CSA model offers farmers. The income we made from the CSA helped us cover the many upfront costs of getting our farm going each year, including equipment maintenance, seeds, tools, gas for the tractors, electricity to heat the greenhouse, and water for irrigation. The CSA also helped take some of the uncertainty and risk out of farming, since we knew up front that we had a guaranteed market for our crops. When extreme weather such as hail storms damaged our crops, our members supported us through accepting some semi-shredded greens, understanding a few crops coming in late, and one member even baked us a chocolate “we hate hail” cake! Conversely when we had bumper crops we happily shared that abundance with our members. These are some of my fondest memories of what community and supporting farmers can look like. 

Joining a CSA also supports farmers by ensuring that your money goes directly to farmers. This is important in a time where, according to a recent Washington Post article, “farmers only get 7.8 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food.”

By joining the Big River Farms CSA, you support a very special group of Farmers. At Big River Farms, a program of Minnesota Food Association, we operate a Farmer Education Program for beginning farmers who are primarily immigrants, refugees, and farmers of color. We focus on providing resources for immigrants and farmers of color since they face particularly significant barriers to land access and farmer training. The profits from our CSA go directly to supporting these farmers as they grow their own organic farm businesses.

Through our CSA, members receive weekly deliveries of certified organic produce grown by farmers enrolled in the program. We also offer certified organic fruit shares. This summer we are happy to partner with Health Foundations as drop site for our CSA for the second year. Each Wednesday June 20th- through mid-October, we will deliver produce to Health Foundations Birth Center along with recipes, farmer stories and invitations to on-farm, family friendly events with hay rides, farm tours, games and more.

We hope you will join us this year in this delicious way to support local farmers! 

Please follow this link for more information and to sign up: http://www.mnfoodassociation.org/our-csa

Written by Big River Farms