Beginning today, our Stamford office will become a CSA distribution point for Chubby Bunny Farm, a small family farm in Litchfield County, Conn., committed to sustainable farming practices.
CSA pickups will be at our office at 700 Canal Street from 4-6 PM every Tuesday for 15 weeks, starting today. Read on for more information about how it works, or head right over to Chubby Bunny’s website to register.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. By purchasing a share in a CSA, community members form a partnership with a local farmer who provides them with a portion of their weekly harvest. By buying a share in a farm upfront, farmers receive the capital they need to purchase new seed and other inputs, make equipment repairs and more, and they can better plan their crops and quantities to meet the needs of their members.
How does it work?
Instead of buying groceries at a store, community members can buy a share in the Chubby Bunny Farm CSA, which costs $450 for a 15-week season. That comes out to $30 per week for a big box of farm-fresh, seasonal produce, including about eight to 12 different items each week. These items will vary from week to week, depending on what’s ripe at the farm. The farm grows a wide variety of veggies, so the boxes will contain just about everything you could expect to find at the grocery store.
As a Chubby Bunny CSA member, you gain more than just food. Through Chubby Bunny’s weekly newsletter and the educational opportunities that they offer at the farm, you can participate directly in the production of your food and learn more about where it comes from.
As we all know, farming and gardening can be an unpredictable business. Circumstances such as drought or pests can suddenly ravage crops, making them scarce or unmarketable. This means that no matter how hard farmers work, they can’t predict how much they will earn at the end of the season. Through CSAs, community members can share in both the risks and the benefits of farming and ensure that farmers earn a predictable income. When the weekly harvest is good, CSA members may get a little more than $30 worth of produce; when the harvests are scant, they may get a little less. In the end, the community members get a great deal of healthy produce and the farmers gain income security and a stable market.
How are CSAs more sustainable than other types of farming?
Since the farmers and the consumers form a direct exchange, the food travels much shorter distances, which means it’s fresher and richer in nutrients by the time it reaches consumers’ plates.
When farmers can predict their earnings, they also have more freedom to use healthier and more sustainable practices. For example, when farmers are pressed for cash, they may be tempted to grow only one or two profitable crops, rather than growing many different varieties in smaller quantities. When farmers grow only one or two crops, their fields provide the perfect breeding and feeding grounds for pests that like to eat those particular crops. That’s why so many pesticides must be used on industrial farms. Growing different types of plants in the same space not only promotes biodiversity; it also means it’s easier for farmers to go organic without having to worry about hungry insects eating up their crops before they get to the market.
How do I sign up?
To sign up visit chubbybunnyfarm.csasignup.com/members/types and select “Sustainable America” as your pick-up site. Then, each Tuesday, come to Sustainable America’s offices between 4 and 6 pm to pick up your pre-packed box of produce! That’s all there is to it. Sustainable America is located at 700 Canal Street, Stamford, CT](http://www.sustainableamerica.org/contact/), across from Fairway Market and First Niagara Bank.
Why did you choose Chubby Bunny Farm?
The partnership was serendipitous, really. We’d talked about hosting a CSA pick up in our new office to engage with the community while supporting local agriculture. About that time, Chubby Bunny’s farm manager called us asking if we might be interested in hosting a CSA. They were looking to grow their membership in the Stamford area. We were impressed with their commitment to sustainable agriculture so we said great, and the rest is history!