By John Lynds
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) Let’s Get Movin’ program is teaming up with local farms again this year to bring Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to Eastie.
At a community meeting Monday night, EBNHC’s Gabrielle Witham said the Health Center is set to kick off the CSA and is registering interested clients now.
Witham said that starting at just $23.50 per week, residents can sign up for the CSA program that begins in June. After signing up, residents can pick up their fresh fruits and vegetables each Thursday at Eastie’s Farmers Market. To sign up residents can contact Witham 617-568-4783 or [email protected]
“This year we are teaming up with Farmer Dave’s farm to bring veggies and fruit that will change with the season,” said Witham. “People who sign up can pick up their CSA deliveries at the East Boston Farmers Market each week.”
Witham said the price points this year will be $23.50 per week or $470 per season for vegetables and $20 per week or $400 per season for fruit. Each order has enough vegetables to fill one or two grocery bags. Residents can order more per week for additional costs and the site will accept checks, cash, credit cards and EBT/SNAP/Food Stamps.
“We know that paying $470 all at once may be a daunting price for many so you register with us or Farmer Dave’s to work out a payment program all the way through October,” said Witham.
CSA’s are an alternative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest. Once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme.
CSAs generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, often using organic or biodynamic farming methods, and a shared risk membership–marketing structure. This kind of farming operates with a much greater degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders than usual — resulting in a stronger consumer-producer relationship.
According to studies, CSAs benefit the community in which they are established. A large majority of CSAs organize social or educational community events. Events include potlucks, farm tours, events for children of shareholders, and educational opportunities for the community and local schools. CSAs often donate unclaimed shares, organize donations from shareholders, donate a portion of their harvest to food banks, and have scholarships. Many CSAs also offer work-trade programs for low-income members of the community.