Community Supported Agriculture Programs, or CSAs, are mutually beneficial partnerships between farmers and their local communities that allow consumers to receive ultra-fresh, affordable produce while supporting sustainable farming practices. At The Moderns, one of the many ways we Imagine the Next is through our employee benefits. We recently began participating in the Prince George-Norwich Meadows Farm CSA and just received our second share of fresh produce. Every Thursday our staff receives local produce from the Norwich Meadows Farm, a certified organic farm in Chenango County near Binghamton, New York. We have yet to hear of any other company that provides this employee benefit. We are proud to be the first.
How it works
CSAs allow small farms to compete with large industrialized agriculture by greatly reducing the costs and risks involved in small farming. Community participants in a CSA pay in advance for a share of the food that a given farm will produce. This reversal of the usual process—where farmers typically grow first and get paid later— offers a number of benefits. Since everyone gains in proportion to how much is produced, farmers and consumers are pooled together to share the risks and rewards of farming. Small farms become far less likely to be ruined in the event of a poor season, while everyone still benefits from a great harvest. Having money in advance also allows farmers to buy seeds and hire labor without having to take out high interest loans. Plus, because they already know where their food is going, farmers do not need to worry as much about marketing during the growing season, when they may be working 16-hour days.
CSAs are a great way for people to become informed, involved, and connected to their food and food production. In our CSA, volunteering and interacting with others is an important component. It is required for each shareholder to volunteer at least 4 hours. Volunteers can get involved by helping during distribution days, organizing a potluck, or making volunteer reminder phone calls. As an added bonus, we will even have the opportunity to meet with our farmers and talk with them about the food we eat and the growing process!
At The Moderns we Imagine the Next in social, environmental and food justice, not because it is trendy, but because it is who we are. For the past twenty years, we have been supporting environmental and social equity through multidisciplinary work for our clients. Providing our employees with fresh, sustainably produced organic foods is just one of the ways we are improving the workplace and the world – by staying true to ourselves.
To learn more about CSAs, visit Common Ground and Local Harvest.