Tuesday 15 March 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

Small farms are feeling the pinch these days.  Property taxes keep rising, fuel and electrical costs are increasing.  Fewer and fewer young people are choosing farming as a profession.  Competition from mega farms is pushing small farms from the market.  

In losing small farms, we are becoming more and more dependent on imported foods.  We’re settling for lower quality produce; less than fresh from its long trip to our market.  This food is more costly—both economically and environmentally—than that which is locally grown.

Community Supported Agriculture is a means of supporting small farms.  It’s a very simple plan really:  Community members buy a portion of a farm’s crops at the beginning of the season.  Then, throughout the growing season, they receive a share of the farm’s production.  Not only does this provide the farmer with an assured income so that planting can continue, but it also provides shareholders with a direct connection to the source of their food.

Participating in community supported agriculture brings consumers right to the farm.  At a time when we are remarkably disconnected from the origins our food, CSA shareholders come right to the source.  They have an opportunity to put their hands in the soil and to actually see their food growing.  They gain an appreciation both for the seasonal cycle of growth and for the hard work required to bring their food to the table.  All of this is good.

Alderlea Farm is a successful example of community supported agriculture.  This bio-dynamic, organic farm is located in Glenora, near Duncan, in the Cowichan Valley.  They sell shares in their crops, run a restaurant at the farm, and participate in an apprenticeship program aimed at training new farmers. 

I've purchased a share of the Alderlea Farm crop.  For 24 weeks this year, I'll be receiving organic produce, fresh from their fields.  I’m looking forward to getting to know other members of the Alderlea Farm community and to cooking with these beautiful vegetables.

If you would like to learn more about Alderlea Farm, please visit their website at


Lyne said...

That is really interesting! I like this idea.

Aunt B said...

It is interesting, isn't it? I'm delighted to be able to participate.