Click on the links below to answer some of your questions about CSAs and Sweet Earth Organic Farm
We Are Starting a CSA
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead
We are growing through changes... We've marketed to Whole Foods, Fresh Fields, health food stores, restaurants, and farmers' markets in both Madison and Chicago. The first hand and "face to face" relationship of a farmers market is inspiring to the grower and good for the consumer. There is so much accomplished for farm, farmer, and consumers by connecting our interests.
"We cannot move back to a rural society. We have to create a new relationship between the citizens and "their" farmland that will make the benefit of the farm experience available for anyone who seeks education, recreation, or therapy. Every community needs to incorporate farms not only to have fresh local food, but also to have available educational facilities. The extermination of farms on the East and West coasts of the United States if leaving a vast, thinly populated, highly mechanized and chemicalized agriculture in between. This has many detrimental consequences, environmental, educational, and social."~Trauger Groh, Farms of Tomorrow Revisited
We have always looked for an approach to farming that best
reflected our vision and values ...so we have chosen to be a CSA
farm. We believe that Community Supported Agriculture can
restore the vital link between consumers, farms and their farmers,
and the natural world , and we believe that restoring that
connection is more important than ever at this time in history.
Back To Questions
What is a CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture or CSA) Our definition comes from the Robyn Van En Center who was one of the founders of CSA in the U.S.
CSA is a relationship of mutual support and commitment between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer an annual membership fee to cover the production costs of the farm. In turn, members receive a weekly share of the harvest during the local growing season. The arrangement guarantees the farmer financial support and enables many small- to moderate-scale organic family farms to remain in business. Ultimately, CSA creates "agriculture-supported communities" where members receive a wide variety of foods harvested at their peak of ripeness, flavor and vitamin and mineral content.
THE BAD NEWS: In America the family farm has fallen victim to a relentless marketplace; meanwhile, corporate farms have tended to place short-run economic advantage over long-term considerations of our relationship with each other and the earth Modern ways of industrial and chemical farming play a major part in the deterioration of our environment on all levels: soil, water, air, landscape, and plant and animal life.
AND THE GOOD NEWS: Community Supported Agriculture where farms
and families grow a network of mutual support.
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Why Participate in a CSA?
By the ordinary act of eating we can affect our world, we can have a more life giving environment and more life giving food. ~Farmer Renee
- Eat fresh ~ experience food with higher nutrition and better taste.
- Eat organically ~ and keep chemicals off the land, out of the water, and off your plate.
- Eat locally ~ and save the expensive fossil fuel miles (about 1300) that it currently takes to get a pound of food to the American table.
- Eat heirloom tomatoes ~ and support our planets seed heritage.
- Support a small farm and its farmer ~ and preserve beautiful farm landscapes, wildlife habitat, and a more secure local economy.
- Connect naturally to the source of your food and to each other in the spirit of community.
Know your farm...know your farmer
CSA has been called "farming with a face on it."
- You'll have a very direct relationship to the farm and farmer growing your food.
- The opportunity to be closer to the source of their food than ever before.
- To know your farm and to know your farmer.To know when the broccoli was planted, if your tomatoes are vine ripened or when garlic is harvested.
- A shareholder can help choose the season's fare from spring catalogs, discover recipes, or try some interesting heirloom melon for the first time because it was in their box.
Support for agriculture
If agriculture is replaced by agribusiness, what will be the effect on human health and the environment for future generations? Unchecked, agribusiness has already produced factory farming, genetically engineered foods, and the suicide seed.
The average child receives four times more exposure than adults to at least eight widely used
pesticides in food. You, the consumer, are voting every day with your food dollar. As a shareholder,
that food dollar is maximized for you, for the farmer, for the land, and for the environment.
Back To Questions
How does CSA work?
The CSA customer becomes a member payment early in the year. In return, the shareholder "shares" in the season's harvest
by receiving a weekly box of fresh delicious, quality produce throughout the growing season.
Shareholders, inevitably become allies of the farm and farmer they support. By simply sharing in the
harvest, they provide a dependable market for the farm's production. They give their farmer the
opportunity to focus on the art and science of farming ~ of caring for the land while growing the most healthful
and highest quality food. In this way, shareholders also support the land and the environment through
the beneficial practices of their farmer.
Back To Questions
How Long is the Sweet Earth Harvest Season?
In the past, we could confidently say when it was that the season would start, peak, and end. Now changing weather patterns make season predictions less dependable.
Our Pledge:We will do all we can to meet your needs and great
expectations. We will provide fresh, wholesome, nutritious, quality food throughout the growing season...
as soon as we can...for as long as we can.
Back To Questions
What is in a Sweet Earth share?
We grow everything in the garden catalog from A to Z in the way of veggies and some fruit, like heirloom melons, red and yellow icebox watermelons, and ground cherries. Their are some friends who produce other certified organic fruits and we sometimes buy for the boxes to support their efforts and to make interesting surprises for our shareholders.
We especially love growing heirlooms because it ties us to the history of food growers everywhere on the planet and through time. Besides, their fun! There are, for instance, 4500 varieties of tomatoes with colorful names that reflect their special histories. How about these for variety names; Cherokee Purple, Amish Paste, Black from Tula, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Nebraska Wedding...how can a grower resist?!
And those 4500 varieties come in everycolor of the rainbow, pink, purple,green, black, orange, gold, yellow,and, of course, tomato red. At least one variety of each color will be grown on the farm each year, truly vine-ripened and full of flavor. Melons, lettuces and beans,and potatoes are also grown as heirlooms.
And health is in the share! Because we concentrate on a garden fresh delivery, all the benefits of freshness are included in your box.
Vine ripening melons and tomatoes bring out their fullest flavor and nutrition and that's the way we harvest them. Organically grown for optimum nutrition means for us here at Sweet Earth that is not just an absence of pesticides and salt fertilizers but using growing practices that give plants the best conditions to develop the highest nutrition and flavor.
A word about seasonal....yes, it's possible to get pineapple in your boxes, but part of the experience
of CSA was intended to help make all of us notice the food that grows closer to home ...to learn how
to prepare it., and to appreciate the growing conditions of our own region...to connect! We would
like to continue to explore the world right around us, to support local economies, and the energies of the
seasons in our region.
Back To Questions
What's the size and price of Sweet Earth shares?
Full shares come in 3/4 bushel boxes and are suitable for two real veggie enthusiasts or a family of two adults and two children. The cost is $530 for the harvest season. Partial shares come in half bushel boxes and the cost is $425. Partial shares should be suitable for up to three adults. If this seems like a lot of veggies for you, please think about partnering with a friend. Just remember to let us know all the names of a shared share. But also think about the possibility of just wanting more veggies because they're really fresh, really healthy, and really good.
"Well, CSA has also been called 'farming with a face on it.' Although I am still doing farmers' market, I've chosen to become a CSA farm because it's an extension of the vision and values of connection." ~Farmer Renee