The Community Farm of Ann Arbor is a CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and describes a relationship between those who eat food and those who produce it. The movement began out of a growing desire for people to truly know and connect with where and who their food comes from – and to be a part of that process!
In a CSA’s most basic form, members of a farm purchase a “share” of that farm at the beginning of the season – a time when farmers’ costs for things like seeds, fencing, and feed are highest.
In exchange for their investment, members receive a share of the produce grown by the farm during the growing
season – often a weekly distribution of fruits and vegetables (and sometimes eggs, meat, milk, etc). Members
learn about the seasonality of their local crops and get to know some new fruits and vegetables along the way.
And they share in the risks and rewards of the season (a rough year for the eggplant might yield a bumper crop of broccoli).
Most importantly, farmers and members are joined in a supportive and celebratory community, collaboratively participating in the kinds of agriculture – and value systems – they’d like to see continued.
As one of the first designated CSAs in the country, Community Farm continues to play a central role in the movement.
Where We Started and Where We’re Going
The Community Farm of Ann Arbor has 30 years of experience as a working Biodynamic farm and a pioneer of the CSA model, not to mention our demonstration of goodwill in the economic sphere and self-governance through consensus decision making of the full membership.
Our members connect deeply to the farm itself through on-site food distribution and member participation workdays. As a community, we connect deeply with one another in the spirit of service and generosity by offering a sliding scale for membership dues and by celebrating the cycle of the year together in festivals.
Our land hosts native plants and wildlife habitat and is preserved for agricultural use into perpetuity through a land trust. We harvest solar power, including the development and fabrication of a solar powered tractor, and our practices yield clean air, water and healthy carbon cycling between soil and plant life. Our animals are cared for with compassion and engage in natural instinctive behaviors for a low-stress life.
We’ve hosted on-farm workshops and school trips. Our members support the farm activity and farmers’ livelihoods, and we are always eager to connect with the larger community!
More About the Farm
At the Community Farm of Ann Arbor, we’re fortunate to have a long term lease on preserved farm land that has been farmed using organic and biodynamic practices for 30 years. We grow heirloom vegetables and fruit trees including peach, apple, pear and paw-paw; we keep bees and raise cows, goats and sheep. The land includes two barns built using wood milled before the Civil War. The field stone foundations are rock solid, the heavy oak timbers are sound, the siding is weathered but intact, the doors open and close, but we need new roofs. The asphalt shingles have worn out and we’re upgrading to metal roofing with a longer lifespan (and it’s recyclable when it needs to be replaced in 40-50 years) and the additional benefit of giving us the ability to catch clean rainwater from the roof surface and re-use it on the farm.
Our barns are used to house our milk cows, sheep and goats in the winter, as well as store hay, straw, tools and tractors. Their function is critical to how we care for the land and gives us the ability to grow vegetables for families that come out to the farm each week to pick up fresh produce. The winter in Michigan is soon to be upon us and I’ll sleep better at night knowing we can get these roofs replaced this fall. We’ve already raised half the money we need just from the generous donations of our CSA members and this campaign is an appeal to additional friends and supporters of the farm, near and far, to raise the other half of the money needed. If you eat, please consider making a donation to help our small diverse farm. Thank you.