With summer just around the corner, many Stevens Point residents are looking forward to local produce from their shares in CSAs, or Community-Supported Agriculture.
CSAs are a way of connecting individuals directly with local farmers and local produce.
At the beginning of the season, a farm will sell shares of their crops, usually in full or half shares. Once the plants start producing vegetables, those who purchased shares will receive boxes of fresh local produce on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Field Notes Farm is a local certified organic farm out of Custer, which offers CSA shares for their produce.
Polly Dalton, one of the owners of Field Notes Farm, explained how CSAs are beneficial to both farmer and community member alike.
“A farmer needs the support of community members financially to purchase the seeds and to know what to plant. The community helps to provide that, and the farmers provide the food and often the opportunity to go out and experience what food growing looks like,” Dalton said.
In addition to being able to buy shares with money, many farms, like Field Notes Farm, offer the opportunity to invest in a worker’s share. This means that you can trade a few hours a week at the farm in exchange for your box of local produce.
CSAs encourage environmentally friendly farming practices, such as being able to avoid mono-cropping, or growing only a single type of vegetable.
“Because we’re not trying to grow a single crop, there is a built-in resiliency in the model of growing,” Dalton said.
Dalton is optimistic for this year’s growing season, saying that they hope to sell 1000 lbs of sugar snap peas this year between CSA shares and three different farmers markets, including the Stevens Point Farmers’ Market.
Anybody interested in being involved in local CSAs can find the 2017 Central Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas online, which lists local farms, CSAs and farmers’ markets for all of central Wisconsin.