What's a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture

Urban Roots Farm grows fresh vegetables for your enjoyment. Most of our customers enjoy these veggies  through our Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA.

Already know about CSAs? Go sign up!!!

Otherwise here's the scoop:

When you become a member of Urban Roots CSA you are entering a local food partnership with your farmer.  The farmer and the members agree to share in the cost and risk of growing food as well as in the bounty of the harvest. It's like you signed up for a 32 week vegetable subscription. From the first pick-up to the last you will get a box of naturally grown, prime harvested, wonderfully fresh in-season veggies. Members pay for a portion of the season in advance, which helps the small farmer cover his/her "seed money" (ever wondered where that term originated?). Then you and other members reap the benefits of investment all season long. The member also shares the risks of vegetable production with the farmer, and we talk a little bit about that below.

What does a Share look like?

Our intention is to provide you with 6-12 different vegetables per week. A Large share will feed a family of four or two adults who cook at home regularly and eat a lot of veggies. We are offering Small shares for those of you who cannot use a Large share each week. Every week what's in the share will change.

Veggies we grow include:

Spring: Spinach, green beans, baby beets w/ greens, green onions, carrots, salad mix, kohlrabi, radishes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, chard, beans, kale, head lettuce, bok choi, pak choi, cabbage, turnips and a variety of herbs.

Summer: tomatoes, Basil, peppers, eggplant, fennel, okra, melons, celery, cucumbers, green beans, edamame, edible flowers, onions, summer squash, herbs, ginger, radish, lettuce, greens, carrots, beets.

Fall: lettuce, winter squash, green beans, pepper, cabbage, beets, herbs, onion, swiss chard, radish, salad mix, potatoes, winter squash, garlic, pumpkins.

Winter:  Kale, Chard, Lettuces, Spinach, Bok Choi, Arugula, Salad Mix, Turnips, Radish, Leeks, Green Onions, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Choy, Sunflower and Pea shoots.  

Shared Risk? There is an important concept woven into the CSA model that takes the arrangement beyond the usual commercial transaction. That is the notion of shared risk. When originally conceived, the CSA was set up differently than it is now. A group of people pooled their money, bought a farm, hired a farmer, and each took a share of whatever the farm produced for the year. If the farm had a tomato bonanza, everyone put some up for winter. If a plague of locusts ate all the greens, people ate cheese sandwiches. Very few such CSAs exist today, and for most farmers, the CSA is just one of the ways their produce is marketed. They may also go to the farmers market, do some wholesale, sell to restaurants, etc. Still, the idea that "we're in this together" remains. 

Many times, the idea of shared risk is part of what creates a sense of community among members, and between members and the farmers. If a hailstorm takes out all the peppers, everyone is disappointed together, and together they cheer on the winter squash and broccoli. Most CSA farmers feel a great sense of responsibility to their members, and when certain crops are scarce, they make sure the CSA gets served first. Still, it is worth noting that very occasionally things go wrong on a farm. We promise to work hard, and grow the very best vegetables we know how. We have a strong belief in “community” and feel this is where we fit within ours.

How does Urban Roots Farm CSA work?

Our philosophy is “Know your Farmer, Know your Food”. We want our customers to understand how and why we grow the food you consume. By participating in a CSA program, you will come to learn which foods are in season, how they are grown, delicious recipes and you’ll probably get to try a new tasty veggie every now and again. In addition to our education mission, we encourage each family to spend a minimum of 8 hours a season (spring and summer) on the farm. (You are always welcome to spend more!) Your time spent on the farm will strengthen your understanding of our practices, foster new friendships with like-minded folks, and best of all give you the opportunity to know your farmers. We farm in an environmentally responsible manner; all our produce is free of synthesized chemicals.  Any sprays we do apply are approved for organic produce up to the day of harvest, and are only used if other protective measures aren't working.  We individually research every growing aid prior to use, and if we don’t want to eat it, we don’t use it.

This year we will have a special farm to table dinner just for our CSA families. Every year we host a couple Farm to Table dinners to celebrate the season, but we really look forward to the community that is felt during our exclusive CSA family dinner . We love to eat the food we grow and we love to share the table with our community. This dinner is part of your sign up, so we hope to see you there!

What is the Cost, and payment arrangement?

One of our ideals from day one has been to ensure access to quality fresh produce to people with varied financial boundaries, while also ensuring that we are able to make a fair living farming. This has proven to be very challenging, as those goals have been revealed as ironically at odds with one another. We continue to brainstorm ideas to move those goals closer together.  This coming summer season we will again be offering a payment structure which we hope will allow CSA to work for more people. Basically it will take the pain of the lump sum out of the CSA by allowing our members to make a deposit before the season (still meeting the farmers need for "seed money"), but then pay the remainder of their balance through monthly automatic drafts.

Members are asked to pay 30% down at sign up. Costs are as follows:

Large Share: $30/week x 32 weeks = $960.00 

Small Share $18/week x 32 weeks = $576.00 

Sponsored shares are also available from partial sponsorships starting at $25 increasing in $25 dollar increments to a full sponsorship which costs $350. There's more info about this program below.


Additional option descpriptions:

Bread: We are glad to continue offering a bread share option this year. This share provides one loaf, baked locally with organic ingredients by Legacy Bagelry, per week.  There is also an option to have a bagel share, which is a bag of 3 bagels/week.    

Fruit: At this time we do not have berries or producing fruit trees on the farm, but we do ocassionally purchase bulk fruit when it is available locally, and make it available fo purchase during CSA pickup.

Bedding plants and transplants: We will ocassionaly have plants for sale to the public on the farm.

Egg Share: With this option you get one dozen eggs per week for 32 weeks. The hens who lay these eggs are free ranging, with supplemental chemical free non GMO feed from Stewart Farms, just North of Springfield.

Mushrooms: If you sign up for this addional share, you will recieve a package of Willow Mountian mushrooms each week.  The varieties roatate through Portabella, Baby Bella, Button mushrooms, and Oysters with an occasional variety pack or surprise variety thrown in.

Coffee: Special blend from Coffee Ethic made especially for our CSA members. "Living Matter" has great flavors of milk chocolate and brown sugar.

Goat Cheese:  Terrel Creek Farm keeps us in supply of their Artisan Goat Cheeses.  Though we do not offer a Cheese Share we will have cheese available for purchase at pickup.  

Giving Back:

There are many families who would love to experience the benefits of healthy local food but may not find a CSA share affordable. We have a number of folks who volunteer regularly on the farm who always go home with some veggies, but we would like to go one step further by giving you the option to help these families.

During the summer CSA season you can sponsor one of these families through the purchase of a reduced cost share. This provides the opportunity for these families to participate in the community of subscription farming, expand their agricultural knowledge, and improve their eating habits.

Sponsored shares are half shares and require 8 hours per season of on farm work from the family receiving the food. The cost to our sponsors will be $350.00 for a season. Last year we introduced the option to purchase a portion of a sponsored share in $25 dollar increments. See the CSA signup web page for details. After the shares are sold, we will contact the recipient families, and instruct them on how to get their veggies.  We all know how great it feels to give back, and giving a family the gift of nutritious food and teaching them a healthy hobby, which may continue to benefit them for the rest of their lives, is amazing.


How do I sign up?

Sign up is very easy and convenient this year. Simply fill out our CSA signup form and answer the questions.  Once you've completed and submitted the form you will receive an email within 24 hours with your invoice.  The invoice will be for the entire season total but will have the 30% or 50% (you choose) deposit due imediately.  There will also be the option to save your credit card information for faster future payments.  Every month you will get a reminder with your total season amount still due and the portion we expect paid that month.   If you need a hand getting signed up, please don't hesitate to give us a call at 417-597-4858. 

Follow this link for additional details about the 2019 Growing Season CSA. 

Feel free to contact us for any reason!