Monday, August 29, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

community supported agriculture (CSA) is something i've been contemplating and reading a fair bit about of late.   simply put, it's the way of bringing our food chain back to being more local and very personal.  cutting out the super markets with their huge mark-ups ... and also providing different ways for folks in the community to "own" their relationship with their food, and engage with the process.

if you want a really good layman's perspective on CSA, go and have a look at the Purple Pear Organics web site for a great concise read on what it is.  and you also have to check out their blog ....  kate does a great job of sharing their personal journey in sharing their own knowledge of sustainable living.

i have been so impressed with what i am seeing going on, and just how it can positively affect lives, that i wanted to share some of what i've seen going on lately.  the beauty being that CSA can occur on both the large and small scale.  both have their place and both are great examples of engaging in community and bringing the food chain back to being a local thing.

locally ......

Bron, Dave and their son Jack
yesterday i went over to my friend's Dave and Bron's house.  i knew they were into sustainability and doing heaps in their back yard.  so i had a box of seedlings and plants to give them.  what i wasn't prepared for was to learn about how they have engaged with five other families and have basically turned over a piece of their backyard to a community garden.   that is generosity and a community mindset at it's best!  they've done a great job of setting it up so that folks can easily come in through a side gate without disturbing family activities if need be.  

another great local example is Jo and Jo of Funky Front Yard Farmer's.  i only wish i'd gotten to know these guys sooner!  they have two great initiatives.  the first is the blog, Funky Front Yard Farmer's Friends.  they are using social networking to challenge folks to feed their families for a meal, a day or a week on produce that they have grown in their own yard.  we are part of this .... and will continue to be as we move to all points north.

the second thing they are doing is setting up the local Crop and Swap.  folks bring in food that they've grown and trade it with others who are there to do the same.  how wonderful is that!  it is launching on the 12th of November at the community hall in Faulconbridge.  i encourage all my blue mountains food growing buddies to come along and join in!

on a more regional scale .... 

here are a few things that i know are going on in other area's.  all you need to do is look in your local rags you'll find some great stuff going on as well!  half the fun of finding out what is going on is just getting to know the folks that are like-minded!

Purple Pear Organics. these guys are in the Hunter Valley.  they do CSA as well as lots of teaching and educating.  they run courses that you can attend where you can learn about sustainability and their chosen way of doing permaculture via the Mandalah Garden method (a great concept and worth looking at!).  and they also open up their farm to bring in classes from schools and adults to talk about what goes on with the farm and get them excited about what they could do themselves.

Allsun Farm.  these guys are down towards Canberra, in Gundarro.  they run what could be said is an amazing CSA initiative.  with 2 acres under intensive cultivation, they manage to feed numerous families for a good portion of the year.  and of course this doesn't include the improved pasture that they run chooks on or the goats!  they really are australian leaders in the area of market gardening and providing food on a local level.

mid-september i am going out to my favourite place .... Milkwood Farm, for a three day intensive workshop in how to create a Market Garden from scratch.  what is really exciting about this is that the Milkwood gang are bringing in their own mentors, the guys from Allsun Farm!  attending this course basically 1.5 weeks out from our move will keep me inspired i am sure!  the guys at Milkwood are great .... but, i am so excited to spend time with Joyce and Michael from Allsun.  they are older (ahem, like me!) and doing this work .... just the inspiration i need!  <g>

how this will all affect our move is yet to be seen.  it is going to be interesting to rent and live "in" casino for a while.  getting to know folks and share in their community and see what niche we can fill or be a part of.  i would love to start a market garden and a full on CSA when we move .... but we need to see what the needs of the community are first and how we can fit into that.  i am confident though, that whether it's on 15 or 50 acres, we will be engaging in community and relationships where we inspire each other to think about eating locally and enjoying the bounty of the land from folks they know and respect.


  1. Thanks for the great rave and links to PP, Maggie. People of the North Coast are way ready for CSA and community stuff I'm sure. And just think of the climate. So good for growing food! All the best. xx

  2. Kate ... i am trying to figure out if we have time in our travels to pop in and see your place on our way north. we leave sydney and head to Canberra for a national filipino adoption festival and then leave, hitting newcastle to spend the night, and only going to coffs the next day ..... hmmmmm .... wondering if we can swing by your place enroute? watcha think? i would just love to see the mandalah concept in practice!

  3. Lots ofgreat info, is so good seeing this movement taking off.You are going to love the weather in Casino...I can just imagine all the things you will be able to grow.

  4. Hi Maggie, I think that , that is a wonderful idea. We would love to have you call in. But it does depend a little on the date, and maybe you would like to stay in our wwoofer room if you need to spend a night somewhere.

  5. Hi Kate ... date would be the Monday the 3rd of October. probably getting in fairly late arvo as we have to pack up our camp sight from the festival. if you have accomodation that would be great! but also understand if you don't. let me know if that works for you guys. maggs

  6. That will be fine. Can you email me and I'll give you my phone number. Kate