I got an interesting appeal from our CSA, Fox Creek Farm, right before we went on a long vacation. Back now, and I wanted to bring it up to the Farm Share community and get your thoughts. Our friends at Fox Creek Farm sent along a link to an article in the New York Times: When Community Supported Agriculture is Not What it Seems. I must say that I've generally been supportive of more ways to shop local. There are many folks whose schedules or lifestyles don't lend themselves to the routine of CSA pick-ups and organizations like FieldGoods allow them to enjoy fresh local produce "on demand."
What the NYT article points out is that these new ventures are not really CSAs, though they use the language of CSAs in marketing. In fact, they're venture-capital-funded distributors that contract for produce from family farms. While they do provide a new outlet for family farmers, the farmers assume a lot of financial risk added to the inherent weather risks of farming. Fox Creek reports that with the rise of these alternatives, that their subscriptions have been stagnant after a period of robust growth.
It struck me, listening to all the presidential campaign rhetoric, that while globalization is demonized for declining wages in America, there's been no mention of the rise of huge internet corporations for erasing whole categories of work and community. The beauty of a CSA is that you establish a direct relationship with the folks who are growing your food. You get to help out in the harvest if you want. You get to watch their kids grow up. You get to contribute to the health and strength of the community you live in.
In their latest newsletter, I saw that Fox Creek Farm is offering a 30% discount on mid-season sign-ups. This seems like a great way to check out their produce. They have a lot more pick-up locations than I realized. Pick up times are 4:00-6:00 p.m. If you're interested, you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or find a pick up location near you on their website at www.foxcreekfarmcsa.com.