Greensgrow created its City-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program 16 years ago as a way to help our partnering farmers outside the city gain more access to city dwellers, and vice versa. The term evoked the commitment Greensgrow embodies to leverage the remarkable power we have as a city to support the robust, diverse, and sustainable local food system that we rely on. By combining produce from the 90+ local farms we have worked with over the years, we can reduce the environmental impacts of transportation, create a more diverse share for our members, and ultimately save farmers time and money. We’re proud to have grown this program from the 22 original members to the over 700 families that now participate each year and to have invested millions of dollars into small farmers in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware.
As the market for local food has grown thanks to the efforts of Greensgrow and others, so has the number of CSAs as small farmers have more customers looking for fresh produce and more options to be successful. We’ve realized that our use of the term CSA may create confusion in comparison to the traditional definition of a CSA as one farmer selling “shares” in their farm. Over the next few months we will be changing the name of our program to Greensgrow Farm Share. We believe this name even more effectively conveys our intent – to share in the mission of supporting local farms. The weekly or biweekly share of fruits, vegetables, cheese, eggs, and sometimes beer! that you know and love will stay the same. And we hope you’ll enjoy the new name as much as we do as we continue to connect you to the best that our region has to offer.
Our Farm Share is a two-way seasonal commitment between you and our local farm partners. Each member pays for a seasonal share of food, and in exchange receives an array of mixed seasonal produce; our program includes dairy and other prepared foods as well. It is similar to a membership or buying club – each member becomes a part of the farm’s local food community with this commitment to eating locally.
Our goal is to bridge the urban/rural divide by providing Philadelphians with the finest and freshest the region has to offer while supporting our local family farms and neighboring small businesses. We operate a cooperative program filling our share by working with a network of local farmers and food producers to ensure that each box is full of high quality and healthy products. If you click on our farmer profiles and vendor pages, you can see more information on our partners.
We have modeled the Farm Share around how people truly cook and eat, catering to our distinctly urban following– there’s no other quite like ours! We include a diverse selection of fruits, vegetables, and dairy or vegan protein options, whereas our friends who belong to single farm models may receive windfall portions of certain veggies throughout their peak season, with less variety because they only see food from one farm. We offer add on share options like coffee and cheese. This gives our members a breadth of foods that our region has to offer, bringing together the best of urban and rural: a neighborhood farm, food fresh from the country, and Philadelphia’s own unique epicurean traditions, including the occasional locally prepared food such as preserves or bread. Our members tell us that our Farm Share is more user friendly than others because of these factors.
Additionally, belonging to a cooperative Farm Share helps to mediate risk because you are receiving food from many farms. If you join a single farm CSA and they suffer a major crop loss from weather, pests or some other factor, as a member your share will be smaller or skip a week; with a cooperative, we can reach out to other farms to keep your weekly box full of value.
These programs are not the right buying vehicle for everyone. If you are considering it, we suggest that you start with one of our half or small shares to see how it works for you and your household. Sometimes neighbors and families split their share as well, so they don’t feel over-committed.
Thank You for Supporting Greensgrow and Local Farms! Eat well. Eat local.
If you have any questions, contact the Farm Share hotline at 215.427.2780 ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.