Roots Community Supported Agriculture (Roots CSA) is a program of the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA). Our goal is to get fresh, sustainably grown, and culturally relevant produce into Asian and Pacific Islander communities who lack access. We are also trying to support small local farmers and cut down on carbon emissions by purchasing local produce versus purchasing produce that needs to be shipped from thousands of miles away. We believe that access to healthy food is a right for all people not a privilege which should be experienced by the few.
What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
As the USDA defines it: Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a new idea in farming, one that has been gaining momentum since its introduction to the United States from Europe in the mid-1980s. The CSA concept originated in the 1960s in Switzerland and Japan, where consumers interested in safe food and farmers seeking stable markets for their crops joined together in economic partnerships. Today, CSA farms in the U.S., known as CSAs, currently number more than 400. Most are located near urban centers in New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, and the Great Lakes region, with growing numbers in other areas, including the West Coast.
In basic terms, CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production.
Why participate in a CSA program?
Small farmers spend a lot of their resources purchasing seeds, materials, and equipment before each growing season which is why costs are high for them on the front end. They have to rely on the fact that they will sell enough of their harvest to not only offset what they spent but also turn a profit. CSA subscribers make it possible for small farmers to have a consistent and reliable source of income. In addition, a traditional CSA model allows you to eat with the changing seasons. The use of preservatives, GMO’s, and pesticides enables stores to sell fruits and vegetables during seasons they would normally not be available. Eating what is seasonally fresh enables us to reconnect to our food and gain a stronger appreciation for what it takes to grow it. This is why the traditional model embodies the heart of what community supported agriculture is all about; reconnecting to the land and supporting the people who grow our food.
How does the Roots CSA program work?
Each year is divided into four seasons (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). Subscribers must commit to a minimum of one full growing season (3 months) with payment being due up front at the beginning of each subscription. Essentially what this breaks down to is: $60 per season (3 months) = 6 bags of fresh, pesticide free, and sustainably grown produce (2 bags per month). Each bag contains 5 seasonally fresh produce items (roughly 5 lbs).