Food Fight - Community Supported Agriculture 2013

Turkey poults
"Beekeeper sing of your frustration
In this litigious breeze,
Of accidental pollination
In this era without bees.
We keep breeding desperation
In this era of thieves
Who keep stealing respiration
From the tenderest of trees.
This peculiar incantation
Sure you heard it before,
Instead of breeding desperation
Make me a pallet on your floor."--Andrew Bird

2012 CSA Share Week 10
     Thanks for finding us here and reading about our CSA program.  What follows is a detailed description of the program and share options that we are offering this year.  We hope it will also help you understand our philosophy a bit, but if you want more details your questions are always welcome by email here.

     If you are new to CSA there are some things you need to think about upfront. We have found that this allows you to make an educated choice without allowing the joys of supporting a CSA operation to create too rosy a view of what it is. Creating a wholesome and interdependent ecosystem within the modern world of synthetic chemicals and engineered genomes is a challenge, to put it mildly. Years of attention and dedication to learning about soil building, crop rotation, succession planting, inter-cropping, irrigation/water conservation, integrated pest management, harvesting, processing, and transporting are part of the value of what you are paying for.

Mobile Cornish pen for protection from predators

     CSA is not a wholesale buying club. While we will in fact give you more than the retail value of your produce share each week that we can do so, buying local is not going to save you any money over mass- produced food at big box stores. But it will ensure that your money is buying something you can be proud to consume. You will notice the health benefits, for sure, but we hope it will also transform you in other facets of your life as sustainable farming and art have transformed us; to inspire and re-enforce ideas like reduced consumption, up-cycling, and waste reduction out of respect for those who work in and live next to the factories that manufacture the things that pass through your hands every day; to constantly be aware that every dollar you spend in a locally owned and operated restaurant/store/market will come back around to the other local entities you love and support; and to take back the power from all-consuming for-profit monstrosities that pretend to do for the nation and your community what only small local businesses can. In order for the cycle to be broken, someone must break it. This, like farming itself, is not a part time job. It is a lifestyle. This is what you are supporting and embracing through CSA.

Tucking everybody in for a cold winter sleep
      CSA allows a direct, long-term link. That is the idea at the root of the movement. Community Supported Agriculture “shareholders” purchase part of the season’s produce before it is even raised. This shifts some of the farm’s annual income to the winter and early spring, when the farm incurs most of its costs. The start-up money allows for investments, from seed and tool purchases to equipment repairs and upgrades. These components, and others, are as critical to the survival of the farm as the soil itself. By providing some income during this important time of the year, you help to balance the expenses and workload, which ultimately increases the farm's productivity and sustainability.

     We are offering more share options than ever before to try to meet your diverse needs, and have also implemented add-on options detailed below to allow you to further customize.  Carbondale delivery will be on Saturday morning.  Maplewood delivery will be on Wednesday evening. We are considering a drop near Belleville, also on Wednesday, if there is interest.
We will deliver for a total of 30 weeks between March and December, including at least one drop each in November and December. If you wish to order poultry for holiday meals, please let us know ASAP.  In order to reserve a turkey, a $10 deposit is required. 

2012 CSA Share Week 1
     We are respectful of ALL faiths and religions and have a genuine desire to learn about and understand any traditions that you honor and celebrate.  We find great value in sharing these traditions with loved ones, in a celebration of family, community, harvest, and renewal.  If there are any ways that we can address your needs, whether it have to do with methods of preparation, timing of delivery, or some other factor, we would love to do so when possible.

Garden Share Garden Shares are the traditional shares we have offered in years past, with the option this season of adding mushrooms to your weekly bag. Half shares ($15/wk) are suitable for individuals and some couples, while those who eat larger amounts of produce and families should consider the full share ($25/wk). The variety of produce included between the half and full shares MAY VARY slightly from week to week. Each delivery will include a share of the produce available for the week and 1 dozen eggs. You can add a half pound of cultivated and foraged mushrooms to either size share for $5/week.  

Protein Share Protein shares ($30/wk) are new to the farm this year and are being offered in response to those who raise large home gardens, or who don't eat much produce (FOR SHAME!). Each week you will receive 5 lbs. of whole chicken, 1 lb. mushrooms, and 1 dozen eggs. In addition, you will get a turkey in November and 4 Cornish hens or a turkey in December.

Farm Share Farm shares ($48/wk) combine the first two share types. Each week you will receive a full produce share, including one dozen eggs, a half pound of mushrooms, and 5 lbs. of whole chicken; plus a turkey in November and 4 Cornish hens or a turkey in December.

2012 CSA Share Week 16
     Any shareholder can add individual items to their shares as frequently as desired (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly).  Although we are happy to bring you whatever you like each week as long as you let us know prior to delivery, we ask that you reserve and pay for these items in advance (15 days) if you plan to receive them at a regular interval.  Not only does this help keep cash flow moving so it can be committed to our ongoing projects throughout the season; it will also ensure that we have what you want when you need it.  Virtually everything we raise takes at least 8 full weeks from sowing/hatching to delivery, so you can imagine how helpful it is to stay ahead of the curve.  To illustrate how we hope this process will go, let's say you desire a lb. of fresh roasted coffee weekly for the month of June.  The additional cost for the month would be $60 (4 weeks @ $15/per) and we ask that you reserve and pay for it by May 15.  These payments do not need to be mailed, but can be dealt with when you pick up your share on or about May 15

     The fact is that the value of many of these items are subject to changes in the commodities market.  This would be the one disadvantage to adding-on as opposed to locking in the seasonal price through a share, which is guaranteed not to change.  For example, last season we saw the price of our chicken feed increase by 30% in one month. Luckily we do not rely entirely on feed for our poultry's nutrition, so we were not affected as much as we could have been and were able to absorb it by increasing our market egg prices by only .50/dozen. CSA shareholders were not affected by this.  In contrast, if the price of chicken feed triples, then the result will be a significant price increase in the cost of eggs and poultry. The prices posted here will continue to be honored by us despite market fluctuations, until the point when we lose money. At that time increases will implemented.  If prices change, you will be notified of the details and you will not be held to your add-on arrangement unless you choose to continue under the new parameters.

2012 CSA Share Week 36

     You can add:

     1 extra dozen eggs ($4.00)
     1 whole chicken-5 lb. ($15.00)
     1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms ($5.00)
     1/2 lb fresh roasted fair trade coffee ($8.00)
     1 lb. fresh roasted fair trade coffee ($15.00)

     The coffee that we offer is purchased as green beans and roasted by Barry and Sean at Art House Coffees in Maplewood, MO.  All profits from the sales of their coffee support the Turner Center for the Arts.  This coffee will also be available in our farm store.  We are always looking for additional locally roasted, fair trade coffees to share in southern Illinois.   

     With the exception of the coffee, all products are raised/produced entirely on the farm using sustainable techniques without administration of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones.  As you can learn by browsing previous blog posts, we constantly test old and new ideas to maximize time, space, and production. We adapt bio-intensive strategies, encourage microbial and mycorrhizal relationships, and employ water and nutrient conservation practices. We acknowledge the sprawling and all-encompassing web of life around us and strive to better understand and interact with it. 

     If you would like to become a Frontwards Farm Shareholder for the 2013 season, please fill out this form. We will be notified of your submission and will contact you by email with details.  

     Thank you for supporting local, sustainable agriculture!