What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
The first step is learning about CSA and everything that they participating in this can do for you. Once you get it, then you have to find a farm that you want to partner with. By partnering, you become a member of their share program. In return, you’ll receive freshly picked (in-season & ripe), healthy produce (generally organic or organic practice) for the entire growing season. The farms will put your produce in a box and deliver it to your desired pick-up site. Monkey Bar Gym Milwaukee is a pick up location for Willoway Farm & Turtle Creek Gardens. You will be able to shake hands with the actual person who grows your food, and that is a very rewarding experience. You are not only able to get access to amazing produce, but you are also supporting a local farm and building a stronger connection within your community. Each box typically contains fresh seasonal produce, and some do offer meat, eggs, honey or other extras, along with a newsletter and recipes.
When do I join a CSA?
You will need to plan on doing your research before the growing season actually begins (between December - April). You will want to be ready to sign up when the farm releases their sign up forms because some farms can be competitive to sign up. The easiest way to pick your farm is to attend the Urban Ecology Center's Annual "Local Farmer's Open House" Event in March! When you are deciding on which farm to pick, you will want to make sure that the farm's values align with yours. Then you will need to designate a pick up location (typically close to home or work), and then also the size/type of share you prefer. I know for me, a single guy with no kids, 1 box every week is plenty of food. But I am a Plant-Based eater, so I think most people would be perfectly fine with a box/share every other week.
How long does the CSA growing/delivery season last?
Most farms will deliver their shares between June and November and some farms also offer a fall or winter share.
How do I choose a CSA farm?
What’s inside the CSA box?
When you are comparing each farm, you will need to find out what they actually deliver in their boxes, and also how big their box is. You’ll want to choose the farm share that is right for you. The size and content of what’s in the box varies from farm to farm, and also throughout the growing season. Depending on the farm you select, you will be able to choose full/half shares and weekly or bi-weekly deliveries. Some people actually split their share with a neighbor, family member, friend, or even a co-worker.
How much does a CSA cost?
The cost will depend purely on which farm you choose. Some farms ask for payment when you sign up, while others have installment plans, and some even offer a trade for helping out at their farm. Some farms also allow you to reschedule deliveries if you will be on vacation. Some farms even have apps, and allow custom box content each week. Generally the costs can be between $30 - $50 per delivery. Each farm has different pricing, so make sure to do your research.
Why should you join a CSA?
CSA's are much more than just a weekly or bi-weekly food delivery. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a powerful investment in your health, community, and local economy. Choosing a CSA is about connecting to a farm and your food. Here are some of the reasons why you should join a CSA program every year! The food is hand-picked and freshly-grown produce that is full of nutrients and free of harmful chemicals. You are able to eat locally, and also food that's in season. You will get exposed to foods you would not normally eat on a regular basis. When you shake the hand that feeds you, you are building a strong relationship with an important person in your community. By joining a CSA, you are voting yes to sustainable growing practices and supporting a local business that helps to keep your money in the local economy.
Who should join a CSA?
Moms, dads, single parents, families, college students, working professionals, and all walks of life. If you value good food, then you are the right person for a CSA. If you like to cook homemade meals, or like to try new veggies, CSA is definitely right for you. Also having the convenience of picking up your food for the week at a location close to home is pretty awesome. I know I am pretty busy, so having someone else pick out my food makes things really easy for me. Do you like spontaneity? Are you open to some unknowns? Trust me, having variety in your diet will only make your health improve. Since the growing season varies throughout the year, you will get different produce in your box as the season progresses. Typically a lot of greens in the beginning, and root veggies towards the end.
Here are the CSA Farms that offer a pick-up site location at:
Monkey Bar Gym Milwaukee - 173 N Milwaukee St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Turtle Creek Gardens (Delavan, WI) - SIGN UP HERE
Delivery Day at MBG (Thursdays *write in MBG as pick up site*)
Willoway Farm (Fredonia, WI) - SIGN UP HERE
Delivery Day at MBG (Thursdays)