By Daniel Kanu
As the leaves fall and sweaters come out, my family begins to eat differently. We move away from the fresh salads and vegetable bounty made possible by a modest garden and the amazing efforts of our CSA farmer. Even now the preserves, pickles, frozen vegetables and root vegetables we put up – owe their colour, crunch and sweetness to the skill of our CSA farmer.
What are CSA farms?
A CSA farm brings together farmers and people in neighboring communities into a mutually beneficial and direct relationship. CSA farmers receive a pre-determined fee from you, the consumer, before the start of the growing season. In return, you receive shares in the farm’s bounty, usually in the form of a weekly box of produce. Paying up front means you also share the risks due to weather and other factors beyond the control of the farmer.
The CSA farm or Community Shared Agriculture is really a promise at the beginning of the season from the farmer to grow and deliver the best possible products they know how with the support of subscribers who ensure the farmers are paid even with the risks of bad weather and pests. As CSA subscribers we get a weekly box freshly harvested vegetables and other products directly from the farm from June to October. When combined with our garden we end up filling our plates with fresh healthy vegetables right into winter, like rainbow carrots lightly sautéed in butter, honey and dill.
The change in season means that CSA farms will soon get to work planning for the next year and how they will fill those boxes and your satisfy your appetite. You can help by sharing your thoughts and feedback with CSA farmers in a new consumer survey.
Food Matters Manitoba created a new survey to collect this critical feedback from you. We hope that with this information will guide CSA farms across Manitoba to grow and adapt. If you fill out the survey you will be entered into a draw for one of two $250 discounts on your 2015 CSA subscription to the farm of your choice.
If you’ve been a CSA subscriber in the past couple of years, please take ten minutes to go voice your opinions right now in the CSA consumer survey.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to join a CSA farm in the past you can find the CSA farm that matches your needs at CSA Manitoba.
Daniel’s family gets their fresh food from a Manitoba CSA. Daniel works with Food Matters Manitoba as the Revisioning the Manitoba Harvest Coordinator.