hunger and providing opportunities to educate youth.” We are
enthusiastic about the possibilities for our farm under this new
Many challenges arise in managing a CSA. One is in creating
a budget that ‘works,’ another is in dealing with surplus food.
One possibility is to have a swap table during distribution, or
a volunteer who agrees to take extra vegetables to a nearby
soup kitchen at the end of the distribution day. Too much
kale? Maybe it’s time to give out recipes on how to make kale
quiche, kale frittata, kale salad, kale chips and so on. Too many
tomatoes or cucumbers? Time for a class on food preservation:
tomato sauce, tomato salsa, pickles for sure.
Managing volunteers can be time-consuming for a farmer but
may provide valuable help with tasks like weeding carrots and
onions, so it’s helpful to attract and train a few members for
such jobs, perhaps by calling them “work shares” and offering
a reward of member discounts.
More than the challenges, by far, are the rewards of participating
in a CSA farm. When you join a CSA you are joining a
community of people worldwide who are taking an active role
in supporting local agriculture and improving the quality and
sustainability of their food supply. Knowing the person who
grows your salad mix or potatoes or butternut squash creates a
deep personal connection between you and the farmer and his/
her farm. And sharing in both the risks and the rewards of the
weather during the growing season brings one closely in touch
with the reality of the challenges farmers face on a daily basis.
Knowing first-hand the hard work and planning that it takes
to grow and harvest food brings the farm-to-table connection
into perspective, and is a reason for community celebration as
well. Our favorite celebration at Willow Pond Farm has been
an annual ‘Summer Solstice Potluck’ dinner on the longest
day of the year. We all bring food we have prepared and set
it on long tables decorated with pots of colorful wildflowers,
napkins and tablecloths, next to the field of lush vegetables
that will feed us for the next few months. A campfire for
marshmallows and someone playing the guitar keep the
children happy while the adults toast the harvest season. It is a
great celebration of food and of a community coming together
to support local agriculture. If this model of community
supported food production appeals to you, why not investigate
CSA possibilities near you?