By J. Dennis, farmer at Zaklan Heritage Farm
Have you noticed local farmers selling CSA shares and wondered what they are all about? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a partnership between farmers and community members who wish to support local sustainable agriculture. The idea is that community members buy a share of the harvest before the season begins and they receive their share in the form of a weekly box of vegetables (or sometimes grains, fish, eggs, fruit, meat) over the course of the farm season.
CSAs help farmers by providing revenue at the beginning of the season before there are crops to sell, but there are many input costs such as seeds. CSAs are also great for farmers as it is a guarantee that a certain quantity of product is sold and helps farmers plan what to grow. CSAs are one form of direct marketing, which means that farmers are able to sell their produce directly to a customer. This direct link between the farmer and people eating the food they grow is an essential component of CSA programs as well as farmers markets. Connecting customers with farms and farmers is a way for people to learn about where their food comes from and for individuals to support the creation of more sustainable food systems in their communities. As with farmers markets, community is an important aspect and CSAs bring community members and farmers together through food and farming.
Now is the time of year that many small-farms are selling CSA shares for the coming farm season. Zaklan Heritage Farm is a small-scale farm that practices ecological agriculture and grows a wide diversity of vegetables in Surrey. We are a vendor at the New West Farmers market and have a CSA program that is open to people in the Surrey and New West communities. Members who join our CSA can pick up their share either at the New West Farmers market during opening hours (Thursdays 3pm – 7pm) or at our farm in Surrey (Saturdays 10am-2pm). We have weekly share options or biweekly share options with the option of adding on eggs from our laying hens and fruit from an organic farm in the Okanagan. We also have three season options: spring, summer and fall programs. You can register for one, two or all seasons. We are growing our CSA program this year and are looking for new members to join us.
If you are interested in signing up for Zaklan Heritage Farm’s CSA Program you can find full program details and register on our website: http://zaklanheritagefarm.com/csa/