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Chris and Shannon

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a unique model of local agriculture. Its roots reach back to Japan, where women consumers, concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population, initiated a direct growing and purchasing relationship with local farms. This arrangement, called teikei in Japanese, translates to “putting the farmers' face on food.” This concept traveled to Europe and, in 1985, was adapted for the U.S. and given the name “Community Supported Agriculture” at Indian Line Farm, Massachusetts. It is estimated that there are now over 1200 CSA farms across North America.

Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership between a farm and a community of supporters. CSA members purchase a “share” of the crops that are grown. In return, the farm provides a healthy supply of produce. Over the years, CSA's have taken many different forms, ranging from exclusively “subscription” programs, in which produce is boxed at the farm and transported to distribution sites, to on-farm distributions that involve farm members harvesting all of the produce.

At Caretaker Farm, we focus on putting people into contact with the land that grows their food. Members pick up produce at the farm and a portion of the crops offered are U-Pick, which means that they need to be harvested by members themselves. Every adult is required to work at least 2 hours on the farm at some point in the season.

Our community work days and celebrations throughout the season include:

Celebrations:
Caretaker Farm Members at Williamstown 2007 4th of July Parade
Mid-April     Earth Day Celebration
Late May     CSA Orientation
June     Summer Solstice Celebration w/Music
Late-October     Harvest Dinner Celebration w/Dance
December     Winter Solstice Celebration

Work Days:
Early April     “Rock The Farm” Spring Work Day
July     Garlic Harvest
August     Onion Harvest
September     Pumpkin/Winter Squash Harvest
October     Fall Roots Harvest

Every Wednesday afternoon from June until October farm members are invited to “Working Wednesday” weeding parties out in the field. These are indeed “parties” as we get to know each other in new and special ways by sharing in a common task out in the beauty of the land. By contributing tasks, farm members are not just consumers of produce from the farm but active participants as well, in caring for the farm that sustains their health.

Education is also an important element of Caretaker Farm's CSA program. We offer various workshops for CSA members throughout the season. Past workshop topics included food preservation (pickling, canning and lacto-fermentation classes), sustainable living discussion courses, and movie nights on the farm.

CSA Membership Details

Community members “share in the harvest” by paying a membership fee at the start of the year to cover annual expenses. In return, they collect a weekly share of fresh produce and additional U-Pick crops that have been grown using sustainable methods. Shareholders are partners with the farmer in growing food for the community.

You pick some of your own vegetables

Fees

    There are two components of Caretaker Farm Membership and each is required for membership:
  1. Share Fee. This allows members to receive a bag full of produce from our distribution area that has been harvested for them. There is a weekly choice of freshly harvested vegetables (June-October).
  2. Membership Fee. Our membership differentiates Caretaker Farm from a supermarket. The membership fee lets members take advantage of our U-Pick herbs, flowers, and vegetables. It also includes opportunities to buy freshly baked breads and pastries from the farm's bakery, farm honey, free-range eggs, and meats when available. It permits access to the farm for recreational use any day but Sunday, and the opportunity to participate in educational programs and farm celebrations. Finally, it allows members to know their farmer and the land that grows their produce.

Pick-Up Schedule:

Pea pickers in the field

June - October: Members collect their vegetables once a week, on either Tuesdays or Fridays between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM, or on Saturday mornings between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM.

Frequently Asked Questions

How and When Can I help? Every adult member is requested to work two hours per season to help on distribution days, work in the fields, or assist with farm events. If you have challenges with physical labor, we will work together to find another way that you can contribute your work hours ( i.e. finding recipes for the newsletters).

May I share a share? Every adult in a household must be a member of the farm regardless of their affection for vegetables or the farm. Likewise, people from two or more households may all join the farm together and take turns picking up the weekly share of food, provided they have all paid the Membership fee. They may alternate pick-up weeks or come together in one car, but the share must be collected at one time and divided off the farm. A membership fee is required of each adult in a household.

Visiting the farm: We warmly welcome all members to enjoy the farm any day but Sunday. If you are making more than one trip to the farm in a week, we ask that your second trip not be during distribution hours due to limited parking space at the farm.

CSA Membership Form (PDF).

CSA Membership Form (Word).

If you have any questions, please contact by email, don@caretakerfarm.org or phone (413) 458-9691




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