Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – also known as Community ‘Shared’ Agriculture – is a revolutionary concept that will allow Kingston residents to have fresh and local produce this season by the crateful weekly while simultaneously supporting local farm harvest. It’s brilliant.
Though CSA is not a new practice but instead one continuing to evolve throughout North America – in fact the first North American CSA farm was created in Massachusetts in the 1980s – the CSA relationship between the community and the farmer is arguably a system that is not yet as widely known throughout our city when it comes to personal households and families. It’s not just our local eateries that can base their menus off local products. The average resident can also enjoy affordable fresh local produce and support our local economy in more ways than one.
By making a pre-season investment, members of CSA receive weekly or bi-weekly share of the organic harvest from the CSA farm they commit too. The cost aids in covering the start-up capital for normal farm operation including purchase of seeds and supplies. By investing, the shareholders contribute to the our Kingston economy by providing our local farms with viable business, supporting community relationships and in the long run, eliminating the need for packaging and mass shipping thus reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Without doubt, this is a very positive step towards building Kingston as Canada’s Most Sustainable City.
Most Community Supported Agriculture programs run from June – October while the ideal growing conditions subsists. The growing season can be somewhat of a concern as we all know, if the growing conditions aren’t at par, the farmers will have a hard time growing high-quality produce. This can be a risk when investing, however the weather is out of our control regardless it be in Kingston or in Mexico. That being said, some CSA Farmers, such as Fat Chance Farmstead, will purchase those crops that do not do well from another farm to be included in the food delivery.
Some Kingston CSA Farmers supply its members with lists of specific products they will receive each while others deliver a variety of products each week so essentially, each box is a surprise.
Below is a list of CSA Farms in or around Kingston that either deliver to Kingston or have pick-up in Kingston.
Sharon & Will Freeman have been supplying Kingston with organic produce since spring 2008 and are now accepting new CSA members for 2014. Freedom Farm has two options for CSA members, weekly or biweekly pickups/deliveries. Each share contains a variety of 8-10 veggies and herbs. With the lesser known vegetables, recipes are included for their preparation. Click here for a list of produce often included throughout the season.
Fare Well Farm
Fare Well Farm offers fresh produce over the course of 18 weeks from mid-June to Thanksgiving. They offer either a Veggie Lover’s Share, Full Share, or Half Share of the produce. Online, farmers Crista Thor and Mike Bayne supply a list of produce that CSA shareholders can expect each month. To sign up, click here.
Fat Chance Farmstead
Fat Chance Farmstead is located north of Kingston and supplies members with a Food Box each week, the produce varying week-to-week on what is in season. The box includes bread, vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, and maple syrup or honey. Note: The 2014 Food Box program is now closed but if you sign up for the mailing list, you will be notified if a spot opens.
Fat Chance Farmstead also circulates a Winter Food Box of jarred fruits and veggies in the winter months, once in late November and again in January. The Fat Chance Farmers preserve their home grown produce. You can click here for Fat Chance Farmstead’s 2013 Winter Food Box list of items
Main Street Market
Main Street Market’s CSA shareholders have many options, including a Workshare, Half Share, Full Share, 15 Basket Share or 10 Basket Share, depending on what will work best for your family. The weekly baskets include a variety of fresh veggies and herbs. Click here view what is available throughout the season. If you are unable to pick up your basket, Main Street Market now offers Green Delivery – your basket will be delivered downtown Kingston by bicycle.
Root Radical was initiated in fall 2006 and they grow organic vegetables in their 2 care outdoor garden along with the 23, 000 square foot greenhouse. Root Radical takes pride in their seven year track record of delivering quality local organic products to the Kingston area. You can view what baskets contained in 2013 here.
Roots Down Organic Farm
Roots Down Organic Farm offers either a Full Share membership of Half Share membership with an assortment of fresh veggies weekly. To cut back on waste, Roots Down Organic Farm asks members to bring their own bags and boxes to pick up. Roots Down Organic Farm also offers recipes with cooking tips. To see a projected list of weekly CSA boxes, click here.
Salt of the Earth Farm
Salt of the Earth Farm in Kingston calls their CSA program Farm Shares. They offer three Farm Share programs in 2014: Garden Share, Free Range Eggs, and Grass Fed Beef and Pastured Pork. For more information on each Farm Share, click here. 2014 CSA membership is still open.
The Kitchen Garden
The Kitchen Garden CSA membership is a bit different than some of the others. Rather than a weekly box of veggies, the market share allows the members to come to the Kitchen Garden stall at the Kingston Market weekly on Thursday or Saturday between 8am-11am and choose from the available offerings. For membership prices and more information, click here.
Do you participate in Kingston’s CSA programs? What have your experiences been? Let us know! If we have missed any up and running CSA programs, please let us know and we will add them to the list.
Photo by Christopher Paquette.