The Community Supported Agriculture Concept
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) refers to a model of farming in which farmers sell harvest shares directly to people in the local community. The CSA represents a direct connection between consumers and farmers, and a shared commitment – shareholders commit to the farm for the season, sharing in the risks of unpredictable growing conditions and the benefits of abundant harvests of sustainably grown food. By paying for a share of the harvest up front, members provide farmers with a secure customer base and resources to invest in seeds and supplies. In exchange, farmers commit to doing their utmost to provide their shareholders with the best quality and most nutritious food around. The CSA builds community and connects people with the source of their food. At Brookwood Community Farm there are numerous opportunities for members to get involved with growing and harvesting produce and for getting to know each other.
What’s in a CSA Share?
Brookwood Community Farm grows a wide variety of crops, planted in succession to provide a continuous weekly supply of mixed vegetables. We offer separate spring, summer and fall CSA shares. Farm members can sign up for one, two, or all 3 shares. You receive a discount if you sign up for all three shares!
For added convenience, it is now possible to pay for your CSA share with a credit card (MC or Visa) or direct transfer from your bank. If you pay by cash or check, you will receive a discount.
The Spring CSA Share (May 13 to June 14) begins the second week of May and runs for 5 weeks. This share features early crops that can tolerate cool weather and grow quickly including many greens. There are generally 5 or more items in the weekly pick up. Early spring season extension can be challenging for local farmers due to our unpredictable New England weather. We try hard to get on the land very early in the spring, put seeds and transplants in the ground and protect them from frost to provide for the May harvest, but those first few pick ups can be light if nature doesn’t cooperate. Quantity and variety generally increase as the spring progresses. Weather permitting, the share will include spinach, salad mix, broccoli, lettuce, chard, kale, scallions, kohlrabi, baby beets, baby carrots, peas, cilantro, radishes, bok choy and other vegetables. The cost of the Spring Share is $118.50 ($115 if paying by check or check).
The Summer CSA Share (June 17 to September 20) begins in mid-June and runs for 14 weeks to mid-September. This share has the entire range of production. It begins with greens, early carrots, beets, peas, cucumbers, and summer squash. It continues through the middle of the summer with tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, watermelons and many other vegetables. The share finishes with early fall favorites including winter squash, carrots, kale, and more greens. Throughout the summer share we try to have continuous production of various greens and onions, as well as a range of produce every week. Depending on the season, the crop mix may vary slightly, but members generally receive about 8 different items each week. The cost of the Summer Share is $345 ($335 check or cash).
The Fall CSA Share (September 23 to November 22) begins the first week of fall and runs for 9 weeks, finishing the week before Thanksgiving. This share features a mix of cool season crops including winter squash, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, collards, salad mix and lettuce. This share also contains some storage crops such as onions and potatoes. Many vegetables including carrots and other roots, as well as brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, kale) are sweeter in the fall after experiencing a frost. The cost of the Fall Share is $216.50 ($210 check or cash).
The size of the share is usually appropriate for an “average household of 4”. The weekly pick up averages $26 worth of vegetables (valued at retail prices) and contains a variety of seasonal items. We do not offer half shares. Rather, we have determined the size of the share that best meets the needs of the majority of our customers. Individuals who do not want a whole share may decide to split their share with a friend or neighbor, but they are responsible for working this out independently and only one family should pick up the complete share each week. Due to the wide range of eating habits, one share may not meet the needs of two households, and at the same time, it may seem like a large amount of produce for some.
The CSA share cost is based on the value of the produce that will be distributed during the season and gives members a 10% discount for paying in advance and sharing in the uncertainty of the farming season. This comes out to about $26 worth of vegetables per week (the weekly payment varies slightly by season but averages 23.50). Produce is valued at retail prices/levels. The produce in each weekly share will vary depending on growing conditions, but should include a variety of seasonal crops each week (about 8 items).
Our intention is to keep the CSA accessible to all. Please contact the CSA Manager at email@example.com about alternate payment arrangements or subsidized shares if the costs are a barrier to your participation.
All CSA members come to Brookwood Farm for their weekly pick up and gather their own produce from the CSA tent. This allows members to see how their food is grown and harvest some of their own produce, if they choose. It also allows the farmers to harvest crops immediately before distribution to provide members with the freshest produce. We do not offer alternative pick up sites or delivery options. However, many members have organized pick up groups where neighbors take turns going to the farm to bring home a group of shares. Each week of the CSA period, the harvested crops are set out in bulk and members are instructed on the amounts of each to take. Each shareholder chooses a pick up day when they sign up and must come on that day throughout the season unless a change is approved by the CSA manager. The pick up times are: Tuesday, 1pm to 6pm; Thursday, 1pm to 6pm; Saturday, 9am to 1pm.
CSA Fruit Shares & Egg Shares
In addition to the vegetables grown at the Brookwood Community Farm, we offer CSA members the opportunity to purchase an additional fruit share, with fruits provided by a local orchard and an egg share with eggs from a local farm provided weekly. More information will be forthcoming as the season approaches.
CSA Volunteer Work
Because this a community farm that depends on volunteer labor to keep up with the chores and harvesting, and because we want our members to get involved, we encourage share-holders to volunteer 10 hours over the growing season (April through October). This work commitment can be fulfilled by attending our regular Saturday volunteer drop in hours. Additionally, a limited number of work-share opportunities allow members to trade 5 hours of labor weekly (harvesting, fieldwork and some administrative tasks) for those who have more time than money and want to pay for a CSA share in “sweat equity”. There are a limited number of work-share positions so please contact the CSA manager at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in one of these spots.
BCF Farm Membership
The annual membership is required for CSA participation. Why? Because supporting Brookwood is not just about getting fresh produce at a good value but also about being part of a community and supporting the farm’s mission of access for all. The annual dues cover free member events such as field walks, pot-lucks, the harvest fest, and a variety of programs and social activities. The membership also supports the food access and education work of Brookwood Community Farm. The farm donates over 15% of what we grow to area food pantries and farmer’s markets in low-income neighborhoods of Boston.
How to Join the CSA
In January we give the first opportunity to sign up for 2014 shares to existing members. In February, we begin sending out sign-up forms to people on our waitlist. If you are interested in a 2014 CSA share please sign up on the waitlist. If you are not able to join the CSA in 2014, you will still be able to enjoy Brookwood Community Farm produce at the Roslindale Farmer’s Market on Saturdays June-November.
2014 CSA Waitlist
If you would like to add your name to the waitlist for the 2014 CSA, please fill out the form below. Waitlist members will receive the sign-up form via email as soon as the general sign-up period begins in February.