Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Here’s how Community Supported Agriculture works at Tide Mill Organic Farm.
- You pay $275 in advance.
- We invest your money in our farm.
- Over the year, you get $300 worth of food. (Nice, right?)
- You eat delicious, healthy food made even better because you’re supporting local farmers.
More specifically, here’s what we mean by “food.” You choose from: fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, turkey, chicken, pork, beef, raw milk, chocolate milk and eggs. You can shop at our farm stand, place orders in advance, let us choose a weekly bag of deliciousness for you, or some combination of the above that makes you the happiest eater ever. We’ll even do the math and keep track of your balance. Plus you don’t have to worry about bringing cash or having credit card middle men scoffing up the profits!
Everyone wins. You get great food and warm fuzzy feelings, and the farm gets your support and the satisfaction of feeding you and your family. Farmers love feeding people.
How to Participate
- Download the agreement in PDF format, fill it out, and send it to Tide Mill Organic Farm to secure your share of organic, farm fresh produce, milk, and meat.
- Submit your payment. We take cash, checks, jewelry (ok, not really), and online payments through PayPal at the link below. To sign up through the mail, send your payment to: Tide Mill Organic Farm, 91 Tide Mill Road, Edmunds TWP, Maine, 04628. Contact us if you have questions.
Information on this page was compiled from the University of Massachusetts Community Supported Agriculture website. They do a wonderful job of educating people about CSA's.
What is a CSA and How Does it Work?
CSA reflects an innovative and resourceful strategy to connect local farmers with local consumers; develop a regional food supply and strong local economy; maintain a sense of community; encourage land stewardship; and honor the knowledge and experience of growers and producers working with small to medium farms. CSA is a unique model of local agriculture whose roots reach back 30 years to Japan where a group of women concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population initiated a direct growing and purchasing relationship between their group and local farms. This arrangement, called "teikei" in Japanese, translates to "putting the farmers' face on food." This concept traveled to Europe and was adapted to the U.S. and given the name "Community Supported Agriculture" at Indian Line Farm, Massachusetts, in 1985. As of January 1999, there are over 1000 CSA farms across the US and Canada.
CSA is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters which provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters help to cover a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season's harvest. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season, and partly assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer or grower. Members help pay for seeds, fertilizer, water, equipment maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy supply of seasonal fresh produce throughout the growing season. Becoming a member creates a responsible relationship between people and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown and those who grow it.
The Importance of CSA Models:
Food is a basic human need. Yet for most of us in the U.S., it is merely an inexpensive commodity that we take for granted. Issues surrounding how, where, or by whom it is grown are not generally the topic of conversation around the dinner table. Considering the current situation in agriculture, perhaps they should be. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,300 miles from the farm to the market shelf. Almost every state in the U.S. buys 85-90% of its food from some place else.
Increased local food production would add considerable food dollars to the economy of many other states. Meanwhile, the nation's best farm land is being lost to commercial and residential development at an accelerating rate. At the same time, the retirement of older farmers, increasing land and production costs, low food prices, competing land uses, the lack of incentive for young people to enter farming, and the fundamental restructuring of the national and global economy all combine to make farming and local food production in the U.S. an increasingly difficult task. Community Supported Agriculture represents a viable alternative to the prevailing situation and the long-distance relationship most of us have with the food we eat.
Some Benefits of CSA Models and What You are Supporting by Participating in CSA's
- CSA models keep food dollars in the local community and contributes to the maintenance and establishment of regional food production systems
- CSA models create opportunity for dialogue between farmers and consumers
- CSA models support the diversity of agriculture through the preservation of small farms producing a wide variety of crops
- CSA models create a sense of social responsibility and stewardship of local land
- CSA models put "the farmers face on food" and increases understanding of how, where, and by whom our food is grown.