Community Shared Agriculture
What is CSA?
Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) (sometimes called Community Supported Agriculture) is an approach to growing and purchasing food that has farmers and eaters working cooperatively. In a CSA, the farmer grows food for a predetermined group of eaters. Eaters enter into an agreement of purchase with the grower prior to the start of the season. The farmer gains a guaranteed market, and the consumer gains high quality, fresh food as it becomes available. CSA farms usually offer weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and/or meat. Sometimes CSAs can also include flowers, fruits, herbs and eggs. The eater-farmer relationship is strengthened through the increased involvement of eaters volunteering on the farm.
Food Box programs are a variation of the CSA structure. The Food Box differs in that the eater need not necessarily commit for an entire season, the payment is usually due on a week by week basis and the eater can often make more choices of what goes into the box.
Please visit our Buy Local Grow Local Food Guide that shows all local CSAs and Food Box Programs that deliver into Ottawa.
Becoming a CSA Volunteer
Just Food has been working alongside a collection of CSA and food box farmers in the Ottawa area. Many of these farms are either certified organic or use organic principles in their farming practices. In our gatherings with these farmers, one of the points raised is there is not great awareness in the city of what farm life consists of. As the number of family farms continue to dwindle, there is a need for people to understand how to be/become a farmer.
Just Food is looking for people who are interested in volunteering on a farm in this region. There are many learning opportunities that these farms could provide if paired with people that have the energy and interest to work alongside them for some days, weeks or a season.
- Are a hard worker
- Are interested in growing food and the CSA farm model
- Are interested in gaining practical hands-on skills
- Would like a change of scenery from the cityscape to the country
- Can handle getting dirty
- Would like to support small-scale farmers through sharing your labour
- Have transportation to and from the farm
- Are willing to commit to an agreed upon schedule with the farmer (could be three hours once a week for the season, or could be for several full days during the hayingseason, etc.
…then contact us to learn more or become a CSA volunteer.
Each farm operates differently and farmers will take it upon themselves to organize how the exchange will work. We will provide you with a list of farms that are interested in hosting volunteers and you are asked to make arrangements yourself with the farmers.
The amount of labour that goes into a season of growing is often much more intensive than many of us can imagine. With your help, farmers will be able to lighten their load a little and you will gain valuable experience in your life — one that may lead to a long career in GROWING!