Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is a CSA?
- Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?
- How long is the harvest season?
- How often will I receive produce?
- How much produce will I get?
- What is expected of CSA members?
- Can I split a share?
- What if I cannot pick up my share?
- What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?
- What vegetable is that and how do I cook it?!
- What is the Admin Fee for?
- Who runs the Southside CSA?
1.What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Put simply, it is a community supporting a farm and in return, the farm supporting that community. It is a creative response to growing problems in this country and around the world, involving agriculture and our food supply, where we are increasingly separated from the source of our food. CSAs connect local farmers with local eaters in a partnership of mutual commitment.
Members buy a “share” of the harvest directly from the farmers before the season begins. Because members pay in advance the CSA allows farmers to raise interest-free operating capital with the security of this committed market. In return, each week the farmer delivers a steady supply of fresh food to the distribution site. When you join a CSA, you know exactly where your food is coming from. You can meet the farmers, and you may even visit the farm.
The money for your share goes directly to the farmers. Volunteer members run the CSA and there are no markups for advertising, storing, or distribution. Because there are no guarantees that particular crops will succeed, you share the financial risks along with the farmers. You also share in the bounty of the farm and members usually receive high quality vegetables and herbs at below-market prices.
When you buy locally grown produce, there is no need to transport it long distances. Buying local uses less fossil fuel and ensures that your food is really fresh. Martin & Gaudencia normally pick the produce the day before you receive it, and sometimes its as early as the morning of. The Greig Farm share is picked early Mon am and delivered that same day.
As a member of a CSA, you will be supporting small-scale, ecological, local farming and helping maintain our regional farmlands and rural areas.
2. Why do I pay for the entire season before I receive any produce?
Your advance payment helps the farmer purchase seeds and equipment for the upcoming season without having to rely on high-interest loans. Members invest in a “share” of the harvest, and accept to take on both the risks and rewards of the growing season. Your support keeps local and smaller scale farmers in business, and fresh produce accessible to city residents.
In 2009 there was a tomato and potato blight that ran across the entire east coast of America. Our farmers caught the blight and our CSA therefore did not get tomatoes. However, Martin was kind enough to make it up with an abundance of other goodies instead (even though he was not obliged to), knowing that we were happy to support them during harder times as well as during a bountiful harvest season. In the past, major weather incidents like Hurricanes Irene & Sandy, have caused issues for our farmers. Last year, the crazy long and cold Winter affected the blueberry harvest. But despite the “failure” of one crop, there was more than enough produce to make joining the Southside CSA a value.
3. How long is the harvest season?
The Southside CSA season runs for seven months. From the first Monday in May until the last Monday in November. We follow the full NY growing season from Spring to Fall. Starting with Asparagus and early greens in May through the full Summer bounty to the winter squash & apple cider of Late Fall.
4. How often will I receive produce?
- Members have a choice of weekly delivery or bi-weekly delivery in the form of full or half shares.
5. How much produce will I get?
The amount of produce received each week will vary with the season, but typically a share will comprise of 7 or more different kinds of produce. Keep in mind that you will receive an average of $25 worth of vegetables per distribution. For a family of four this could provide for 2-3 vegetarian meals or a week of sides. Shared among two people, this could provide 4-6 vegetarian meals or sides for 2 weeks. It really depends on your cooking habits. Consider your current spending on veggies per week and translate.
6. What is expected of CSA members?
Below is the Membership Agreement you will sign when buying a share:
PAYMENT: As a member of the Southside CSA, I commit to supporting our participating farms for the 2021 Harvest Season with timely payments in accordance to the payment plan I have chosen and agree to pay the full amount of my share. I understand that this commitment extends through the entirety of the season and that if I decide to move out of the neighborhood, or discontinue participation for any reason, I am not entitled to any refunds, but have the option to sell my share. Should I decide to sell my share, I understand it is my sole responsibility to find a buyer for the remainder of the share at a pro-rated price, plus an additional $30 administration fee to Southside CSA. I will coordinate with the Southside CSA to facilitate transfer of my share to the new member.
I understand the the variety and amount of produce I receive for my payment depends on growing conditions that vary from season to season and that the risks and benefits of the harvest are shared by all members. I understand that early Spring and Summer has less produce available than later summer and fall.
DISTRIBUTION: I commit to know my personal share distribution schedule and pick up my weekly shares at the BIBA event space at 110 Kent Avenue or The Woods bar (if/when it is able to reopen) not earlier than 6:30pm and no later than 8:30 pm on Mondays. I do not expect the Southside CSA to save my share for me if I arrive late, nor to arrange alternate pick-up dates and locations. I understand the perishable nature of the shares, that the Southside CSA has no storage facilities at the distribution site, and that my share will be donated to a worthy cause, if I am unable to pick up within the allotted time. I understand that any of my friends and family that are not members of the Southside CSA can pick up my share in my absence. I acknowledge that it is my responsibility to give them my share name and the type of shares they are picking up on my behalf. I also understand that all current and future NYC Corona-Virus Protocol must be followed at pick-up, for example, mask-wearing, and social distancing. These and any other safety measures put in place by the city or by Southside CSA, must be followed, or I will not be allowed to pick-up my share that week– resulting in my share being donated. If I refuse to follow safety protocols, I understand that my membership may be forfeit upon the discretion of the Southside CSA.
PARTICIPATION: I understand and recognize that the Southside CSA is volunteer run and relies on its members to facilitate distribution and strengthen the community through mandatory work shifts. YOU are Southside CSA. Southside CSA is NOT a business. I understand that I owe at least 2 volunteer shifts to the CSA during the season. I agree to notify the Southside CSA at least 24 hours in advance if I need to change my volunteer shift. If I fail to meet my work shift obligations, I understand that my membership may be forfeit upon the discretion of the Southside CSA.
INDEMNITY: I, the undersigned member of the Southside CSA, acknowledge that although my participation in a work shift is a requirement of my membership, it is up to me to inform the distribution manager of any physical limitations I may have, so that I may receive a duty assignment that I can safely perform. I understand that some duties may require lifting heavy crates, standing for extended periods of time, and other tasks inherent to the distribution of fresh produce, and I agree to any risks incident hereto. I hereby agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Southside CSA, its core members, Mimomex Farm, Grieg Farm, NY Orchard, Northwind Farm, Yellow Bell Farm, Circle C Farm, Pura Vida, BIBA event space, The Woods bar and their respective employees, volunteers, agents, and assigns, for any harm to me while I am picking up from or assisting with distribution of shares, except to the extent that such harm is caused by another party’s gross negligence, I understand that this agreement extends to all members of the share family and that as signer for my share family it is my responsibility to inform them of this agreement and that understanding and acknowledgment of this agreement is prerequisite to and implied by active participation.
7. Can I split a share?
Yes. Lots of members share their membership with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and in some cases complete strangers that we have matched them up with…… We like offering half shares as an option HOWEVER we do not guarantee that the produce size, type, or variety of produce will be equally split between weeks. Mother Nature and farming just doesn’t work that way. Our farmers do their best to ensure each week is similar but there are no guarantees. If you are worried about “missing out” we recommend splitting a whole share with a friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc….
8. What if I cannot pick up my share?
No problem, anybody can pick-up your share if they give us your share name, i.e.: “Hi, I’m picking-up for Fox Force 5, my name is Gilly.” We will then note that Gilly picked up on the master sheet so there is a record in case there is any question or issue. .
We encourage members to be diligent about picking up their weekly share or to make their own arrangements for someone else to do so (if you are on holiday for example). Having your friends and family pick-up for you is a great way to introduce them to the CSA.
If you are unable to get to the site before 8.30pm on pick-up day, absolutely no produce will be held after 8.35pm. Because all shares are allotted ahead of time and due to the perishable nature of the merchandise you will not receive credit for unclaimed shares. All unclaimed produce or products are donated to the Southside Mission, a local homeless shelter and food pantry.
9. What if I need to sell/transfer my CSA share before the end of the season?
The CSA allows shares to be transferred mid-season however, members must make their own arrangements and notify the core group of the share ownership change. This ensures that we have an accurate CSA membership list and that only authorized individuals are picking up items at the site. Please note that all outstanding volunteer requirements are transferred along with shares
10. What vegetable is that and how do I cook it?!
Throughout the harvest season we offer recipe suggestions to help you explore the wonderful possibilities that cooking your own food provides. You may not have ever eaten or tried some of the vegetables that we grow and we have found in the past that often enough that these become the favorites of many folks. We would love to have more help posting recipes on the blog and FB page so do let us know if you are interested.
11. What is the Admin Fee for?
Your Administration Fee go towards operating costs (stamps, photocopying, bank fees, etc.) and seed events and workshops in the coming season.
12. Who runs the Southside CSA?
You do! The CSA is a member-run, volunteer-based organization: we couldn’t exist without your support and participation. We depend on our CSA members to set up the site weekly and help distribute produce and products for their fellow members, and help with processing left over and donated produce to various soup kitchens in the area.
One thought on “FAQs”
Comments are closed.