Our CSA Share System and Ordering Throughout the Year
On January 1 2017, we opened up CSA share memberships to our mailing list. We sold out within eleven hours. It was an exhilarating and affirming way to spend the first day of a new year.
In January 2018, after 86% of the 2017 CSA cohort stayed on for shares, we sold our remaining shares in 2 hours.
In December 2018, all the shares were taken up by the current CSA members. What legends! And also in 2019.
If you would like to be on the Waiting List, please send me a message or an email and I'll add you on. Please know that the wait is currently very very long.
If you're after ethically-farmed and awesome meat and other wonderful produce from farming families, please do check out "my other hat": the Prom Coast Food Collective.
So what is a CSA share?
Community-supported agriculture is an alternative economic model of agriculture and food distribution, and a delicious one at that. We already sell direct to the consumer (you lovely people, you), but this takes it an extra step in the direction of a solidarity economy. CSA members, or subscribers, pay at the beginning of the year for a share of the anticipated harvest. This will allow us to concentrate on farming and looking after our family.
It is as basic as this: you select at the start of the year a “share” of meat you will take, and pay for it upfront or in monthly instalments. Simple.
If there is any one way to best support a farming family, it is to purchase a CSA share. By committing yourself to a share, which is paid yearly, either up front, or monthly by direct debit, you would better support our farming practices by freeing us up from having to market our product to make sales, and give us the financial confidence to make regular and better farming decisions. Yes, we always sell our entire product very quickly, but we would like to foster a deeper connection to our customers and we believe that this would do just that.
We started selling direct to our community, rather than the saleyards, as a means to increase profit and to more fully engage with the whole food system via farming. We see CSA share members as the most fully formed expression of that goal. What we also know that it would do, is free YOU from having to wrangle with our website, stopping everything when I send out that email announcing that orders are open and jumping online (not fun!). A CSA share would also allow you to budget for your lamb and beef consumption.
What we also offer is a CSA share member day. We have two working days a year with family and friends, with a huge feast. We would also extend these invitations to you. You might like to see how we work, muck in, or just relax at the farmhouse with the family, or be involved in the cooking. It is a crazy but seriously fun lunch and evening, and if you are campers, you would be accommodated on the farm to stay, should you wish.
A History of the CSA movement
The term "community-supported agriculture" was coined in the Northeastern United States in the 1980s, influenced by European biodynamic agriculture ideas formulated by Rudolf Steiner. Two European farmers, Jan Vander Tuin from Switzerland and Trauger Groh from Germany, brought European biodynamic farming ideas to the United States in the mid-1980s. Vander Tuin had co-founded a community-supported agricultural project named Topinambur located near Zurich, Switzerland. Coinage of the term "community-supported agriculture" stems from Vander Tuin. This influence led to the separate and simultaneous creation of two CSAs in 1986.
A parallel model called Teikei existed in Japan as early as the mid-1960s. Similarly, Dr Booker T Whatley, a professor of agriculture in Alabama, advocated for Clientele Membership Clubs as early as the 1960s.
Since the 1980s, community supported farms have been organised throughout North America — mainly in New England, the Northwest, the Pacific coast, the Upper-Midwest and Canada. North America now has at least 13,000 CSA farms of which 12,549 are in the US according to the US Department of Agriculture in 2007. The rise of CSAs seems to be correlated with the increase in awareness of the environmental movement in the United States.
In Australia, it is still a relatively unknown method of purchasing produce. Let’s change that!
Since 2008, the international CSA network Urgenci has been coordinating dissemination and exchange programmes that have resulted in the creation of dozens of small-scale CSA models in Central and Eastern Europe.