On Facebook today I was asked what makes our farm Share Program "more so" as in "Like a CSA Only More So", good question.
I have noticed as the locavore and organic foods movements gain strength more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon. This is good as long as the people are local producers. But producing all the food you sell is a lot of hard work. So when something is hot there are people who are not exactly honest about what they do. I have seen a lot of this with the USDA certified organics program. Check out the Organic Consumers Association's as well as La Vida Locavore for some eye openers as to how companies thwart the regulations.
Well, I see the same thing is happening with the locavore movement. My first inkling of this was when I was interviewed by Ben Sutherly of the Dayton Daily News last year about Fulton's Farm Market getting into the CSA biz. At the time I was not exactly pro-CSA and was less so when I had described to me how they would do their CSA. It would go something like 10 months of the year and most of the year members would get about 40% of their share from produce grown on Fulton farms and the rest would come from elsewhere. And I was told Fulton's had invested in a fleet of delivery vans to deliver the shares to the member's doors.
This rankled me because one of the reason's one should use the CSA model as a marketing tool is so the members get reconnected with the farm. This cannot happen if everything is delivered off farm. If the farmer is not growing most of the food, well, how can that farmer hope to be able to start the reconnection of eater to their food process. I say it would be getting close to impossible.
This winter via the Cincinnati locavore email list I was made aware of Door to Door Organics which advertises itself as a CSA as well (but at least they don't claim to be a farm). I was also made aware of another such company setting up shop in SW Ohio/Cincinnati area but I cannot recall the name. Anyhoo, I have a real problem with such companies saying they are CSA when they have no connection to a farm. Yes, they may buy from some local farms but this is not Community Supported Agriculture in any way shape or form.
So here we have various example of the CSA marketing model being stretched all out of shape so pinhookers (a term I like for farmers who resell) and non farmers can participate. A model so warped that there is virtually no agriculture left for a community to support. A model so bent out of shape that it is a parody of itself.
And this is why I say our Farm Share Program Is Like a CSA Only More SO. Because, like fewer and fewer such programs, ours is farmed based, does not have any delivery and has activities such as farm tours that, hopefully, will engage our members with the farm they have joined.
When people join our FSP they will be getting food grown on our farm and they will be able to experience a real deeply sustainable working small diversified farm that is there to serve our fellow locavores.