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CSA Farms Spread the Harvest Among Shareholders

Agriculture is a major industry in Michigan. Of the state’s 47,000 farms, some succeed because of community-supported agriculture. CSA is a business model where shareholders pay an average of $523 to receive fresh produce weekly through the growing season.

The Allen Neighborhood Center’s Veggie Box is a CSA model that amasses produce from several area farms, different from traditional single-farm CSAs.

“The Veggie Box model allows you to support dozens of local businesses all through one convenient program, lessens the distance your food has to travel to get to your table, and creates opportunities for access to the good jobs and healthy foods our community needs,” said Kat Logan, food hub manager at the Allen Neighborhood Center.

Melissa Moorhead participates in the Veggie Box.

“The main reason that I’m a shareholder in a CSA is because I think that our corporate food systems are unjust and have demonstrably negative impacts on farmers and the quality of the food we eat,” she said. “It makes me happy to feel like I might be helping out a farmer. Why should they bear all the risk of weather as well as the work?”

Mark Kastner owns Hillcrest Farms, a CSA in Eaton Rapids. Kastner enables people to make weekly payments instead of a lump sum.

“About a year ago, we changed to an ongoing weekly subscription charge that made joining our CSA very affordable and spread the cash flow on a more even basis,” Kastner said. “Maintaining a predictable and measurable harvest target will result in a lot less waste in both labor and product and a stronger bottom line,” he said.