Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
We do this. We bought a share with a local farmer we met while working the Tumwater Farmers Market, and each week we pick up our bag of veggies, and it worked out quite well for us.
Do we eat everything we receive? Honestly, no! There are some items we simply do not enjoy eating, but that’s not the point.
So, what is the point?
From Local Harvest.org:
Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
And it is that last item which is so important to us. . . we get to know the people who grow our food, and that fills us with a sense of community which we believe is so important in this modern society of ours.
We have gone from 50% of the U.S. population working as farmers in 1870 to 2% today. There are 2.2 million farmers in this country today, with an average farm size of 460 acres. The farmers I know have nowhere close to 460 acres . . . more like 100 acres or less . . . but the point is this is an occupation which is rapidly shrinking in this country, and it takes very little imagination to picture a country where 99% of the food produced is produced by a major corporation, and that vision depresses me.
Anyway, we are doing our part to support local agriculture, and that makes us feel better as we move along this path of localism and sustainability.