How CSA works
Advantages and disadvantages for Community Supported Agriculture
We've adapted this list of advantages and disadvantages from an American-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programme, but we believe that they are also perfectly relevant to Fig Tree Farm Wee Jasper.
Enjoying natural foods. Our produce is naturally grown, without the use of any artificial chemicals, so that your exposure to pesticides and other substances is reduced. All of our produce is harvested right when it's ripe, intact with its full nutritional value, and it's delivered within 24-hours so that the good nutrients haven't disappeared.
- Helping the environment. We work hard to practise sustainable farming methods and techniques that help to foster a healthy farming ecosystem with rich biodiversity. Luckily, because of our naturally wonderful soil structure, we also use less water than conventional agriculture outfits.
- Supporting the community. Local family farms are rapidly disappearing from our communities. If we don't encourage and support our local farmers they will face replacement by the continued spread of urban sprawl. Losing our local farmlands will also make us more dependent on foreign industries and imported foods.
- Cooking with creativity. You can start to think creatively when you're cooking delicious, healthy meals using a wonderful range of farm-fresh, seasonal vegetables. Your fridge will always be stocked with beautiful foods, which means that you can spend less time at supermarkets trying to plan your next meal.
- Reducing fossil fuels. Most of the fruits and vegetables sold at a premium at supermarkets throughout the country have often travelled lengthy distances to arrive on the shelf. Our produce only travels a short 75km trip to arrive in Canberra directly from the farm in Wee Jasper.
- Understanding your food. You'll be able to connect with your food and to know how it is grown, where it is grown, and who grows it. You'll also be able to learn about the history and traditions of each fruit and vegetable that you eat and the methods and techniques used to grow these items on the land.
- Living more sustainably. As a CSA supporter, you're taking direct action to help to address the inherent flaws with our global food delivery system. By understanding what you're eating you're participating in a more environmentally sustainable and socially conscious way of living your life.
- Accepting item differences. Unlike commercial hybrids, our heirloom vegetables are grown for flavour - not for appearance, durability, packaging, or yield. While fruits and vegetables grown via CSA programmes generally look beautiful, they can vary in appearance and size and do not follow the rules enforced by supermarkets.
- Finding quality variations. Crop events, insect problems, weather conditions, and other variables may occasionally cause imperfections and shortages with the regular harvests, resulting in temporary quality variations across one or more types of produce - or, in rare circumstances, their absence.
- Welcoming some critters. Your produce deliveries may occasionally contain some insects, such as aphids, caterpillars, and ladybugs. These little critters are harmless and are the simple, but unavoidable, byproduct of farming without the use of pesticides.
- Discovering item repetition. The same fruits and vegetables may be included in any new produce deliveries throughout numerous consecutive weeks - delighting some members and occasionally dismaying others. This is an inevitable result of all CSA programmes.
- Managing your expectations. Your produce deliveries will only contain items that we can provide - unfortunately, we cannot satisfy requests to include specific items in deliveries. With every new delivery, however, you'll be provided with great new ideas and recipes to help you make the most of your beautiful, fresh produce.
- Knowing the seasons. Other than the produce items that can be stored - such as onions, potatoes, and pumpkins - you'll always receive produce matched with the season. So, as an example; you should expect an ample share of cucumbers during summer, but you shouldn't expect any cucumbers during spring.
- Obtaining your deliveries. You'll need to collect your produce at the same set time each week. Although we understand that this can be an inconvenience, most members enjoy the chance to collect their produce and meet other like-minded people. You're also welcome to arrange to have someone else collect your share.
- Investing in advance. We require an upfront payment for the full season. We understand that the cost is not insignificant, but it provides us with the capital required to buy equipment, mulch, seeds, tools, and so much more. This also ensures that we have the security that we need to concentrate on growing the produce, not selling it.
Finding suitability for Community Supported Agriculture activity
We've been lucky to speak to many people who are members of CSA programmes throughout Australia and the world and the feedback that we've found suggests that most people genuinely love the concept, but that it may not be suitable for everyone.
You're probably a good candidate if:
- you are happy to eat seasonal produce
- you enjoy cooking and have time to prepare meals from scratch
- you have time to collect your produce on the scheduled day
- you like experimenting with new ingredients and recipes
You're probably not a good candidate if:
- you are not willing to experiment with foods that you dislike
- you cannot regularly collect your produce
- you dislike more than two or three fruits or vegetables
- you enjoy fresh food but do not have time to prepare it
We work hard to grow and prepare delicious, fresh produce that's accessible for everyone - but it's up to you to make the most of the great fruits and vegetables that you'll receive as a member of the Fig Tree Farm Wee Jasper CSA programme.