One way to approach the question of “What is Community Shared Agriculture” is to look at what is involved in starting a small farm business.
There has to be a vision. There has to be the drive, or motivation. Knowledge and an applicable skill set is vital. There are certain key resources: a land base, seeds, a means of preparing the land base for the seeds, tools and materials (row cover to protect against frost and pests, tools for weed control, tools for harvest, a wash station, etc.) There is also the issue of transporting vegetables from a garden sight to the consumers. I have probably forgotten some other important things, but the above list is a good starting point.
Many of the key resources come down to money. I could apply for a loan from a financial institution to cover the costs for my seeds, tillage equipment, and other expenses, and pay the bank interest. Or, I could find 45 lenders, who enjoy vegetables, and offer them a 10% or more discount on next season’s veggies from market prices, instead of interest. This means that by paying upfront for great good, people can get a reduced price for locally grown, natural vegetables. This helps me, the farmer, in terms of cash flow through the down months (especially when starting up). It also offers CSA members an opportunity to invest in their local community, and reap first dibs on high quality produce.
That being said, $100 will hold your spot in Kolapore Gardens 2012 Summer CSA. The remaining balance for a share ($300) is due in February. A summer share consists of 18 weeks of veggies, ranging from early spinach, green onions and radishes all the way to winter squash, tomatoes, carrots and parsnips. The deposit quite literally is “seed money” as my seed orders will be placed in early January, giving me the best chance to get the seeds I want to grow next year before they sell out.
Please contact me if you have any questions, want more info, or wish to join.