C H I C A G O L A N D' S  L O C A L  F A R M   C O A L I T I O N

On Being a Good CSA Member

The following is adapted from posts by Band of Farmers' project coordinator, Robin Schirmer, on The Local Beet. For access to the original posts, see below.

Beyond the mission of marketing for local foods in general and the CSA model in particular, Band of Farmers seeks to educate consumers about eating seasonally and valuing the relationship to small-scale, local farms and the land they farm. If you decide that a CSA is for you, be the best CSA member you can be! Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Be prepared to eat seasonably from what is available in the Midwest, and expect a fair amount of overlap from week to week.

  • Get creative with your cooking and preserving to make the most out of your CSA box; your farm will likely provide recipes and the Internet is full of resources.

  • Make plans to visit your farm, if allowed; either join a scheduled farm event or contact your farm ahead to arrange a visit.

  • Read any newsletters you receive, whether hard copy or via email, so you’ll know what challenges the farm may be experiencing in a given week.

  • Don’t trash-talk your CSA! CSA farmers are real people who have chosen the rewarding but often difficult work of growing food for people to eat. Droughts, flood, hail, locusts (ok, not locusts, but plenty of other pests) happen and are outside the farmer’s control. And in becoming a member of a CSA, you’re supporting that farm—not just buying a commodity. If you have concerns about the products, service, or responsiveness of your CSA farmer, let him or her know rather than jumping first to Yelp or other review sites. Give your farmer the benefit of the doubt and value the relationship that is implied in Community Supported Agriculture.

  • If you’ve been a CSA member, talk to your friends about what you liked about it; if you were happy with your experience, sign up again with the same farm (farmers really appreciate your loyalty and continuity in their customer base); if it didn’t work for you as you’d hoped, try another one.

  • Let your farmer know when you’re really happy with what you’re receiving; sometimes, it’s just the pat on the back needed to slog back out to the field on a rainy day! 

For the complete posts, click here and here.


C H I C A G O L A N D' S  L O C A L  F A R M   C O A L I T I O N
A project of Illinois Stewardship Alliance

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Mailing Address:  Band of Farmers:: c/o Illinois Stewardship Alliance:: 230 Broadway St :: Suite 200:: Springfield, IL 62701 

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