It’s the time of year where my inboxes get peppered with one familiar question. Where should I get my CSA from this summer? For those of you who aren’t asking that question because you aren’t totally sure what a CSA is, let me start with a little primer.
Community Supported Agriculture is kind of an alternative market model where you pay for a season’s worth of produce in advance of the season. You buy a share of a farmer’s harvest at the beginning growing season, and every week you get a box freshly picked veggies. It’s like investing in a business and your dividends are paid out in vegetables. The farmers gets money when they’re investing the most into the years harvest, and consumers get fresh healthy for every week. Fun fact? There’s twice as many CSA programs in the country as farmers markets. It’s kind of a big deal.
A couple of years back, I helped NOFA-NY promote CSA around the state and I got to see first hand what an amazing and diverse collection of CSA programs New York offers. And there’s a ton of things to weigh when you choose which one’s best for you. Price. Convenience of pick up. Is it organic? Are add-ons available? Are small shares available? The truth is, if you buy into a CSA program this year, you’re going to win. You’ll get great food and support local farms.
What if you could also support a new farm to university buying initiative, cutting edge technology, and that teaches kids about farming, science, and a bunch of other stuff? As you’ve already cleverly put together, that’s a what if question where I reply with, BUT YOU CAN! By getting your CSA from Main Street Farms.
First, you should know, that Main Street Farms is good at the regular stuff. They grow all their plants from their certified organic plant nursery, and use organic practices in all the plots they farm. They deliver to your favorite local coffee shop, Recess Coffee, which is super convenient. And if it’s not really that convenient for you, and you live in the City of Syracuse, it’s a really small minimum number of shares to arrange for a pick up at your office, church, or neighbor's house. (Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to know more about being a pick up location). They offer 2 size shares for $18 a week for the small share ($396 total for the season) or $23 a week for a large share ($506 for the season).
Your investment in their farm, while returning great delicious organic veggie dividends to you, supports MSF’s other projects. Let’s take a look at some of things your investment supports.
- Aquaponics. It’s dope. And cutting edge.
- Main Street Farms recently agreed to sell SUNY Cortland a minimum of 4,000 pounds of tomatoes. Two tons. I’m of the opinion that these kind of buying programs are vital to a thriving locally based food economy.
- They have a subsidized CSA program for their Cortland/Homer pick ups. The subsidized CSA program is for low income families who can pay for their shares using their SNAP/EBT benefits card. (They're working on getting this program in Syracuse, but realistically it may not happen this season.)
- One time I hired them to come teach about aquaponics at a summer camp and they helped the kids build a goldfish tank aquaponics rig. Cuz they’re also educators.
- Urban farming is a pretty powerful way to impact a neighborhood with food access issues, and one of their plots is, you know, in a city. Cortland specifically.
Over the years, I’ve gotten to know these folks pretty well, and their vision of the transformative nature of the food system is inspiring. You can support their vision, while getting your hands on some of the finest veggies growing in our region. To get more information or to sign up, check out their website.