CSA: Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture is an economic model utilized by small and mid-sized farms in the US since the early eighties, though it has been an economic model throughout the world since the 1960’s. There are a number of different iterations of it, but the common denominator is that consumers pay at the beginning of the season for a share of the harvest. The early payment allows farmers to invest in seeds and supplies for the growing season ahead. By sharing in the harvest, the sharers take on both the risks and rewards of the season, weathering what mother nature has in store for the farm.
The Work-Share CSA at Turner Farm
At Turner Farm, we want to connect people with the land that feeds them in mind, body, and spirit, and our Work-Share CSA reflects this mission. Each share commits to work two hours per week at the farm over the course of the season, actively participating in and connecting with the production of the food and maintenance of the land.
The Turner Farm Vegetable CSA runs for twenty-two weeks, from the end of May through mid-October. Each share feeds a family of four, two if they are vegetarians, and includes both vegetables and flowers. Turner Farm CSA members enjoy the first harvest of all of our vegetables and flowers. We do our best to extend the Ohio seasons to make vegetables available for longer periods of time than tradition dictates.
Sugar snap peas, spring lettuce, arugula, greens mix, and carrots are highlights of spring. In June we enjoy plenty of broccoli and cabbage. Rolling into July we start in on tomatoes (we plant them early), cucumbers, and garlic. Summer is the season of tomatoes, peppers, onions, eggplant, summer squash, basil, green beans, and so much more. As fall comes around, we immerse ourselves in more greens, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and all things cold-loving.
Diary of a CSA Member
Sustainable farming in Indian Hill? Some things never change.
Written by: Jenny Burman
The cost per share for the season is $500.00 plus 44 hours of work. The season lasts for 22 weeks, typically starting at the end of May and lasting through mid-October.
Turner Farm is a working CSA; it is dependent on each member participating in the operation and fulfilling his/her share of labor.
CSA harvest days are Mondays and Thursdays, with pickup from 5:30-6:30 pm on Mondays and 1-2pm on Thursdays. The share includes both vegetables and flowers and typically covers the produce needs of four people, two if they are vegetarians.
There are 45 shares available for the season. A $100.00 deposit along with a completed CSA Agreement Form is required by April 1 and is not refundable. The balance of $400.00 is due by May 1. If you need to make an alternate payment plan, you must speak with the CSA Manager directly.
Two hours of work are expected per week, and sharers who are behind more than 6 hours in their work cannot pick up their share until those hours have been completed.
Work responsibilities vary according to the time of year, the needs of the farmers, and the abilities of the workers. The types of work that we will be doing cross all levels of mental and physical abilities, from weeding and seeding, to harvesting and cleaning.
There are ample opportunities to learn new skills, teach one another and discover the joy and energy that comes with being outdoors and connected to the land. Children are especially welcome and encouraged to participate in the garden work projects, but they must be supervised. Every man-hour counts, so bring friends!
Our vegetable CSA is full for the 2017 season. Please check back with us in early 2018 for openings next season.
Vegetable CSA Frequently Asked Questions
A: Because of the complexity of the CSA program, Turner Farm does not sell half shares. However, there are a number of sharers who split their shares with other families, managing the payment, both in money and work, themselves. Co-sharers are responsible for managing pickups as well. We do not have enough space in our parking lot or produce shed for more than one representative from the share to pick up. Therefore it is the responsibility of the co-sharers to manage pickup and distribution of their produce as well. If co-shares are unable to fulfill work or financial agreements, both forfeit the ability to sign up for subsequent CSA seasons, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
A: Children are very welcome at the farm. All that we ask is that you keep them in your sight at all times and are fair to the farm in terms of actual man-hours worked. Kids of all ages vary in terms of productivity on a farm setting. Are your more mature kids doing a full man-hour’s work in an hour? Maybe it’s just 1⁄2 hour’s worth. If you bring your very young children, consider how much time you are actually working on the farm versus how much time you are having a lovely farm experience with your children.
A: The best time to come to work on the farm is when the garden crew is around as you’ll have the best choice of activities, however all new sharers are required to come to a new-member orientation during which we describe how folks can work in the off-hours. The garden crew works 8:30-5 Monday-Friday and 8-noon on Saturdays. During those hours we ask that you come and join us in the fields. For the after-hours, we keep a running work-list so folks can pick and choose from different activities in different fields. The farm is CLOSED ON SUNDAY for all visitors and sharers.
A: If you can’t make it to pick-up, you have a couple of options. Your share can be packed for you for later pickup by calling the farm no later than 15 minutes before pickup – that would be 5:15 pm for Monday sharers and 12:45 pm for Thursday sharers. All packed shares are labeled and put in the walk-in refrigerator. Packed shares will remain in the fridge for pickup for 5 days. If you’re going to be out of town for a week or more, you are more than welcome to invite a friend or neighbor to pick up the share and/or do the two hours of work due for the week. Some people just want to give their shares away, others want to make their friends work for it.
You are responsible for all 44 hours of labor over the course of the season whether or not you pickup every week. It is your responsibility to make sure that your food is picked up in a timely manner.