Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
We have taken the concept of Community Supported Agriculture and modified it to work for our community. It goes like this...You've heard about CSA's and want to participate in one near you. You have chosen Tide Mill Organic Farm. The next step is to you fill out the CSA form (available by clicking on the link below) and let us know where you will be using your food credit. You pay $275 and receive a $300 credit in food. You can pay by writing a check, paying in cash in person, or paying online (see the link below).
You can apply your CSA credit to any of the food products we offer including fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits, pasture raised meats including chicken, turkey, beef and pork, whole raw milk, chocolate milk, ricotta, eggs and all of Tide Mill Creamery's delicious yogurts and cheeses. You can make your individual selections by placing an order or shopping at our farm stand. Or you can choose to receive a weekly produce bag for $10 or $20, where the farmer will select fresh produce and fruits for you. That option is available for meats and dairy products as well, but most people prefer to order their specific meats and dairy they want. Whichever system works best for you, we keep track of your purchases and will check in with you about your balance every two months (or more frequently if requested).
The CSA is a great investment in your food and your local farming community. You can feel good about paying for and including local, organic food in your diet and we can feel good about having a market for the nutritious food we are growing. We are looking forward to feeding you this season!
To join either the Washington or Hancock County CSA Programs please download the above forms and send them to us either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to our mailing address, 91 Tide Mill Road, Edmunds Twp, Maine 04628. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
To get a sense of what we offer for produce and when it is typically ready, see our Produce Availability list.
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.
Information compiled from the University of Massachusetts Community Supported Agriculture Page who has done a wonderful job to educate people about CSA's.