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Post by John
Equinox Community Farm
2012-07-15 20:26:14

The Power of CSA

As the drought and hot weather continue with no signs of relenting all kinds of farmers in the area and much of the rest of the corn belt are looking at a hard year. Conventional grain farmers are expecting a potential yield loss over 90%, and for those that lack crop insurance that equates to losses counted in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anyone raising animals, whether for dairy or meat, is already seeing feed costs rise and the market value of their animals decline due to anticipated shortages of hay and grain feed. And vegetable farmers, CSA or otherwise, are weeks into short harvests due to the weather and the incredibly high insect pressure we've seen this year.

I have heard of several CSA farms in the area that have cancelled deliveries for a week, others that are trying to buy extra produce from other farms to fill their shares, and others that are ending up with pretty slim boxes. While I have been able to continue providing moderately full boxes I have come up short on some veggies and had other completely fail, among those the early spinach and radishes, and it looks like the cauliflower is going to wind up un-harvestable as well.

This situation truly highlights the incredible value of the CSA system. In a year like this one with substantially reduced harvest traditional farms would see substantially reduced incomes. A CSA farm, however, has the Support of the Community of farm members to largely cushion the losses from the reduced harvest. This support also provides farmers the capital to make additional investments in equipment and infrastructure, if needed, to help make it through the crisis. In my case I have spent more the double what I had budgeted for irrigation for the year on additional watering supplies and equipment to help pull things through and get the fall crops germinated and healthy.

So, anyone receiving a CSA this year can be assured that your boxes come with a generous helping of appreciation and gratitude from your farmer. Your support this season has made a tough year manageable.