This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the customer (CSA member). For you, the CSA member, you get to: eat ultra-fresh food, with all of its flavor and nutritional benefits; get beyond organic quality fruits and vegetables at a lower price than you'll find in the store; get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking; and develop a relationships with both the farmer who grows your food and with others in the community who value healthy, sustainable food.
As for the farmers in a CSA, they get to: sell directly to their consumers, allowing them to earn money that would have been taken by middlemen (e.g. grocery stores); receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow; and have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
We have also strived to build additional programming around Share Days, and will offer grocery delivery services through ShopRite at Home, live music and entertainment, cooking classes that will help you learn to prepare the produce you receive in your share, and more!
Creating local jobs: As it grows, the CSA will be able to support a living wage for an urban farmer full-time. As interest and access to the CSA grows, we believe the market for fresh produce will continue to rise, leaving room for even more urban farming jobs to emerge. Moreover, urban farming does not require a college degree or passing a background check: it just requires hard work, skill, and dedication
Keep money circulating in Camden: Most of the dollars spent on food by Camden residents are spent outside the city. By bringing these dollars back into Camden, they can circulate locally and benefit community residents and businesses
Increased access to, and knowledge about, healthy food: A CSA introduces members to new vegetables they may never have heard of before, and helps them to see how easy it is to fit more fruits and vegetables into their diets. By encouraging fresh food consumption, we can begin addressing many of the health concerns in our community
Make healthy food affordable: Although CSAs already offer members a discount on high-quality produce, they still remain out of reach for many individuals and families without the extra income to spend on high quality foods. The Parkside CSA adopts a "sliding scale" payment system, where low fees are guaranteed to Camden residents by charging a higher price for non-Residents and organizational partners.
Fostering connections between residents and commuters: Too often, and for too long, there have been artificial barriers built up between the people who live in Camden and the people who work here but leave at 5 PM. We hope that interacting, sharing, and communicating together in this CSA will help to heal this rift.
Rebuilding the local food system: The CSA is just a part of Roots to Market's efforts to rebuild the local food system in Parkside and in Camden City. For the health of our city, and our planet, we believe it is important to rebuild an economy where the growing, processing, purchasing, eating, and recycling of food happen closer to home.