You’re a farmer.
You have about ten acres of land, somewhere close to the coast. Your farm feeds 100 families, who signed up ahead of time for a summer’s worth of fresh organic vegetables from your farm. They have already paid in full, about $500 per family for weeks and weeks of veggies, so that all they have to do is pick up an enormous share of veggies from the farm each week.
For years, you and your 100 families have a lovely relationship. You enjoy getting money up front before the season begins, and they enjoy not thinking about buying vegetables for months and months.
Flash forward to 2011. In August, Hurricane Irene hits.
Your fields are destroyed by flooding. Your beets are completely submerged for days, your corn is bowled completely over, your tomatoes are squished and moldy. You won’t be able to give out the CSA members’ shares for months.
Luckily, your 100 families paid months ago, so not only do you have the money to do rehabilitation on your fields, you have the money to buy vegetables from a neighboring farm so that the families will still receive shares, albeit from another farm. Further, your families love you, so they donate some of their time to help you reconstruct your fields and plant new seedlings.
Phew! Thank goodness you operate under this small-scale community farming model, called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). You may not make as much money this year as you would have, but at least nobody went hungry, and you have the money to fix things up after the hurricane.
Thankfully, our fields at Drumlin were not hit as badly as yours were. However, it is likely that our plants suffered somewhat, and possible that our CSA members won’t be getting as large or plentiful a share as usual this week. Part of the beauty of CSA’s is that when our members signed up and paid full up front, they knew that natural disasters happen, and they made a commitment to support us through thick and thin.
There are so many CSA’s popping up at farms across the US. Check out this website to find CSA’s near you: http://www.localharvest.org/
Keep the responses coming! I love them!