building resilient + subversive fair food culture
CSA was started in Japan in the 70s under what are called the Teikei Principles. The most basic principle of Teikei is a direct distribution system based on relationships, not mere transactions. It is also based on sharing not only the rewards of organic or agroecological farming, but also the risks.
UPDATE: We have some remaining CSA Membership SUBSCRIPTIONs….
Pay-As-You-Go shares are available for the entire remaining season (25% deposit & completed forms 1 week prior to produce delivery commencing)
OR get an AUTUMN/WINTER Share (17 wks, starting April 26 - 50% deposit secures share, 50% due by April 11)
Don't miss out, we can only provide a set number of shares!
What a CSA is
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
It is simply a farm share program between our local farm and the community of CSA members who receive the food the farm produces. Our members purchase a share of the annual growing season's harvest in advance, around early mid-late November and in return receive a weekly supply of our fresh, premium quality, organically grown (AO organic certification #10966) seasonal vegetable harvest, from late January (approx) through mid August, picked at their peak of ripeness and flavour. The members agree to share in the inherent bounty/surpluses, other benefits and risks of the agricultural season. It helps farmers distribute risk and remain viable and to manage our crops (or stock) as per known demand. It honours labour intensive small, family farms dedication and the farmers’ extensive knowledge base/experience. CSA enables us to plan and budget each year. The arrangement guarantees the farmer financial support and enables many small scale regenerative farms to stay in business - literally!
In sharing some of the farmers' risk and bounty, CSA also helps connect eaters more closely to the farm and knowledge of food production methods and the daily realities of growing food. CSA seeks to connect consumers with the real story of their food and in doing so engender a deeper value for food and the process of growing it.
Why is this important?
With only 2% of Australians (approx) actually producing food for the other 98%, people are increasingly separated from the source of their food. Community Supported Agriculture is a response to this issue. It is a model that emphasizes locally grown, which promotes a local economy, and a safe food system. Participation in CSA leads to a deeper understanding of our interdependence on one another and the land.
The members' annual membership fee helps cover the farm's production costs and enables more efficient crop planning. In return, eaters become shareholders, it's a relationship of mutual support and commitment between farmers and eaters. When people obtain food this way from their local farmers, they are directly supporting their community's small family farms, as well as receiving the freshest available produce.
A Farm in Your Heart... We offer a direct relationship to our local farm. Food does not start at the customer’s door; it starts on the farm. Belonging to our farm, (as a CSA Season Share member) will enrich and broaden your culinary adventure. Joining our CSA means that you will experience your meals in a deeper, more connected way with Planet Earth and your farmers.
The CSA concept originated in Switzerland and Japan in the 1960s, and its basis is to “put the farmers’ face on food” (The word for which is teikei in Japanese). It is thought to have started in the U.S.A. in the 1970s-mid 1980s, initiated by New England farmers, who were seeking to produce high quality, local, primarily organic produce; reduce the financial risk before the harvest season and build a greater sense of authentic food community. By the 1990s CSA had caught on and continues to spread widely as farms across the U.S. (and rest of the world) seek new direct relationship models with a more efficient and transparent supply chain for fresh produce and other farm products. It is relatively new to Australia, though it is being well received with a growing movement, which at its heart supports food sovereignty and high value for all.
What a CSA is NOT
A CSA is NOT a regular 'pick and choose' or 'order whenever' at 'bargain basement price' weekly vegetable and fruit delivery box scheme. That kind/combo of produce "box scheme" is not what a true CSA model is all about. There are significant differences between joining a local CSA and purchasing from a 'Whole Foods', greengrocer, veg box order and delivery service or even a Farmers' Market. Joining a CSA requires a shift from going out and buying whatever you choose from a greengrocer each week and does not mean that you can select from 10 farmer stalls, growing in a variety of climates, who will bring only those crops that were successful that week to the Farmers' Market. It does not mean that you select from hundreds of Australia-wide or imported farms' produce that the delivery service or store has brought together for you under one roof. What joining a CSA means is that you share in one local farm’s harvest. You share in the risks and rewards of farming, with one farmer, not 10+ farmers operating under diverse circumstances, usually with a lack of transparency to you about how your food was grown, where it was grown and how it was handled (occasionally it works that local farms help supply a CSA with certain or unique items or they run a CSA together). When you join our CSA, you gain the ability to walk through the fields of crops and see your food being grown. Maybe help out with some of the farm work at times, AND you get to know your farmers on a first name basis.
Why WE chose the CSA Model
We have been successfully growing certified organic vegetables, herbs and garlic since 2006. We originally supplied local eaters with produce boxes via a week-by-week "box scheme" during summer and early autumn. In principle, that was the kind of relationship we desired with our customers and our farming - direct, weekly, mutually supportive, enjoyable relationships between us/our beautiful produce and our eaters and the personal satisfaction of growing a diverse small market garden producing less volume of each item but of more varieties of food plants. We did a great job and got lots of positive feedback but we were 1st generation or 'beginning farmers' with ample passion and some great skills, though not yet enough practical experience of commercial vegetable production or running a farm business to make that model viable, especially in our somewhat unpredictable local cool climate and relatively small local population. We put the weekly veg boxes on indefinite hiatus and focused on farmers' markets, restaurant and shop supply only. Until NOW! CSA we see as a genuinely viable option for all involved.
Our AIM with starting up this CSA is to:
Our farming has always been about health, conservation and regeneration - soil, landscape, water, feeding people, ourselves...
Get back to our 'roots' for the 'why' and 'how' we enjoy farming
Guaranteed income from the start of the production year - from seed purchasing onwards...
Diversify our farming practices, marketing and eater relationships
Keep farming!! (we need better security/ viability)
Feed people well
Feed more locals!! We have always welcomed some farm gate sales, at limited times of the week BUT it is not practical or viable under our circumstances and location to run a thriving farm gate shop.
To ensure that the food being grown can ultimately be sold
Give access to those who want our food but can't get to farmers' markets.
Create a more stable farm model and income that will enable us to earn a more reliable living AND seek finance for a larger farm property of our own (we currently lease 7 acres, growing 14 acres of food annually) but we need more land to farm better, more viably and diversify in the long run. After 11 years, we can't see a better option than CSA towards long term viability and due reward for all our 'blood, sweat and tears'!?
Create a community of real food and farming appreciators, allowing eaters to connect with the farm
Add a significant and viable improvement to the fresh food supply chain
To host on-farm tours and events for our CSA members. We look forward to forging meaningful relationships with our loyal CSA members and community.
Angelica Organic Farm's CSA
We 'kicked off' our inaugural CSA with our 2017 Autumn-Winter 16 week CSA (mid April - early August), with what proved a good variety of seasonal vegetables and herbs to represent those months and feed most people well with 'just picked' weekly veg. The produce is picked less than 24 hours prior to delivery to the Melbourne and Daylesford pick up hubs. The feedback from our CSA Share Members has been not only wonderfully positive week-to-week but also diverse, helpful and very rewarding for us and our farm hands.
When you share in one farm’s harvest, you are sharing in truly fresh, local seasonal crops. Therefore, LOCAL means our farm in Glenlyon (near Daylesford) and SEASONAL means the exact climatic conditions on our farm and the produce those localised weather conditions are currently supporting.
Some crops like it hot and some like it cool...all summer nightshade foods such as tomatoes require around 10C consistent overnight temps. Our tomatoes for example, are planted around early December, are field grown or grown in non-temperature-controlled poly tunnels for added protection, not in a hot-house under completely artificial conditions . You will be hanging out for tomatoes by February when ours typically start ripening... a little patience and understanding on your part will result in amazing naturally grown, Glenlyon in season, vine-ripened tomatoes in your share and you will NEVER look back (provided mother nature cooperates)!
With our produce supply, FRESH means picked yesterday or this morning! We grow everything by ORGANIC or BIODYNAMIC methods to produce clean, quality, local, nutrient dense food. To us NUTRIENT DENSE means produce grown by honest, skilled natural and holistic practices with a focus on a healthy soil microbiome to grow the healthiest plants, without the use or need of any artificial chemicals and fertilizers.
Typical “box schemes” more often than not source products from wholesalers and/or a number of farms all over the country (or imported), just as most grocery stores do. They are catering to what have become our ideas about what is in season - an all seasons '1 stop shop' ALL YEAR round. Community Supported Agriculture is about Both the Food and the Farm
Angelica Organic Farm does not just provide you and your family with fresh, local organic food; we also offer you a relationship to the food in its larger context—that of the farm. There are many wholesalers today that will aggregate and deliver boxes of fresh produce to your door, but the story of your food starts long before it arrives at your home; it starts on the farm.
All WE can provide is what can be grown on our farm for our members in our community with our climate and our season and its variables in any given year.
Like all farms, we have our share of crops failures due to unseasonal or extreme weather, pests and occasionally human error. However, rest assured that we have many years experience 'under our belts' now, and we are realistically confident we can supply our CSA members with a reasonably reliable, satisfying and practical array of produce across the seasons from February to July/August.
We 'hedge our bets' as best we can in our temperamental climate (700m above sea level) with poly tunnels to buffer the seasons, where possible, we cover delicate crops with row covers to help 'smooth out' sudden temperature changes or give extra warmth to seedlings, minimising impacts and generally aiding plant growth with a little weather protection. We always plant extra crops just in case.
No two years/seasons are ever the same...We continue to learn and grow ourselves as farmers, learning more about the art, craft and uncovering the mysteries of it all. As it ever was, we endlessly experiment with new varieties, new planting times, different row spacing, all in the hopes of shoring up a consistent variety of produce and now even more so, as filling the CSA boxes with diversity and quality is a primary focus. We will share simple, yummy and practical weekly recipe ideas to help show our community how to enjoy new foods as well as new twists on old favourites or to help folk 'nail' classics! We aim to show our CSA community what seasonal meals actually look like and how rewarding that can be.
What We Grow for CSA
(Subject to change without notice!)
This is what we plan to grow and have ready for harvest at approximately these time frames over the year/seasons, all being fair. Remember though, Mother Nature tells us when She's ready, not the other way around....there are many variables out of our control and crop failures do occur; so we can't GUARANTEE you any specific veggies or bang on a set timing, yet we guarantee you a good value in your share each week. We aim high, but every year is different in terms of weather, potential bugs, disease and we always have the variables of unpredictable events in our fields. It is certainly our commitment to minimise the risk to you in the return on your investment and we will 'pull out all stops' to achieve this as practicable! Being a part of CSA means accepting these risks along side the farmer.
(Subject to change or addition without notice!)
Basil, coriander, dill, Italian parsley. Garlic. Beans, mixed beetroots, green and purple Shanghai bok choi, capsicum, carrots, chillies, cucumbers, eggplants, Elk leaf, curly endive, fennel, Jalepenos, kohlrabi, leeks, mixed lettuces, onions, spring onions, potatoes, rocket, tatsoi, Tokyo greens, heirloom tomatoes, heirloom cherry tomatoes, zucchini and zucchini flowers.
AUTUMN: APRIL-MAY (poss. part in to June)
Coriander, dill, Italian parsley, rosemary, maybe sage. Poss. some tomatoes in to April if no early frosts. Mixed beetroots, green and purple Shanghai bok choi, broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, chillies, Elk leaf, fennel, Jalepenos, Jerusalem artichokes, Tuscan &/or red Russian kale, purple or white kohlrabi, leeks, mixed lettuces, onions, spring onions, snap or snow peas, potatoes, rocket, silverbeet/rainbow chard, spinach, tatsoi, Tokyo greens.
WINTER: JUNE- Mid August
Italian parsley, rosemary, bay leaf. Mixed beetroots, green and purple Shanghai bok choi, broccoli, Romanesco Cauli-Broc, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, fennel, Tuscan &/or red Russian kale, white kohlrabi, leeks, some lettuces, onions, potatoes, silverbeet/rainbow chard, tatsoi.
N.B.: Spring and early summer (Sept-early Nov approx) are our local 'hungry period', when all 'over winter crops' are finished and there's not yet been enough consistent warm weather for new crops to grow/be ready. That is why we start the annual CSA in February (peak produce!)AND also because by then everyone is back from summer holidays!
READ about the Pros and Cons of CSA on the NEXT PAGE and whether our CSA will suit YOU...
SUBMIT your APPLICATION HERE to JOIN our CSA!
UPDATE (29/1/19): CSA Membership REGISTRATION ‘Sign Up’ EXTENDED
*SUMMER - AUTUMN - WINTER *
Pick Up Hubs: Armadale - North Melbourne - Footscray - Fitzroy - Brunswick - Woodend - Daylesford
A certain set number of memberships ('Shares') will be available each year in advance of the upcoming CSA Season commencement, with sign up AND payment securing your 'share'. CSA2019 starts 25 JANUARY 2019. Sign Up EXTENSION up to April 11 or until remaining shares are sold out. Pay-As-You-Go shares are available for the entire remaining season (25% deposit & completed forms 1 week prior to produce delivery commencing) OR get an AUTUMN/WINTER Share (17 wks, starting April 26 - 50% deposit secures share, 50% due by April 11)
PLEASE ONLY SUBMIT THIS FORM if you have decided to commit to joining our CSA - OTHERWISE, comprehensive information explaining our CSA terms and cost etc plus CSA info in general can be found on these website pages to assist you in making your choice prior to applying. Once you have SUBMITTED YOUR APPLICATION, we will promptly reply with your MEMBERSHIP FORMS to be completed, along with your PAYMENT to secure your CSA Membership Share for 2019