Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a farming model in which community members pay upfront for a share of a farm’s harvest. They then pick up produce each week over a season. In addition to supplying Valentine Dining Hall with food through the year, we want to give community members access to the food that students grow to cook in their own homes. Book & Plow relies on CSA share sales to sustain itself financially.

The reason so many people love CSA’s is the “freshness factor” and that aside from eating vegetables, there is no easy way to get vitamins and minerals into your diet. CSA’s bring people to farms to access the freshest food possible. CSA’s make a lot of sense, especially when you consider most “fresh” food in the grocery store is harvested in an under ripe state in order to survive the journey from California / Mexico / Florida / Chile without being damaged and that the average distance traveled by food is 1,500 miles from farms to our plates. For many of our members, the food in the CSA is grown within 10 miles of their home.

The most notable benefit of a CSA model is getting to know the people who grow your food. To have weekly face to face interactions with your farmer is an amazing thing! Not only that, but you can give feedback about vegetables you like and don’t like, ask for gardening and cooking tips, and deepen your relationship with food knowing it was grown with respect for the land and love of the product.

Wikipedia has a great article that explains the benefits of a CSA model and some history. That article can be found here.

 Can I split my share with a friend?

Sure! We recommend either bringing your friend to pick up with you so you can decide on how to fill the bag together, or alternate weeks with your friend so you each get a full share every other week.

What happens if I can’t make it to a pickup?

If you can't make it to a pickup, we recommend sending a friend, loved one, or colleague to pick up instead. If everyone you know hates vegetables, please email us the morning of pick-up telling us which vegetables you want in your share, we can set aside your share for pick-up the following morning. At the end of most pick-ups, we will make a few extra shares and store them in the cooler. If you miss pick-up and don't contact us about veggies you like, feel free to stop by the cooler and see if there are any shares left. They are well labeled. Any shares not taken by Friday at 5 will be donated.

Can I come to the farm and use the Pick-Your-Own Garden during off hours?

Absolutely! One of the best things about the CSA is the option to harvest fresh herbs or a bouquet of flowers on your way home from work any day of the week. We also love when folks bring their friends and community members to “show off” their farm on the weekend. We only ask that on the rare occasions when we have strict picking limits (e.g., 1 pint of cherry tomatoes per share/ week) that you respect those limits even if you come during off-hours!