Wow, what a wonderful and exhausting time of the year. Proud and exhausted most of the time at Front Step, but lots of time to think since I work alone most of the time. We are the first and only urban farm CSA in Providence, and that is pretty awesome and unique. A couple of conversations this week got me thinking about the value of what we do, and I wanted to put out a couple ideas.
We are charging a market value for our CSA produce, meaning that you get the same price on our veggies if you join the CSA as you do if you come to the farmers market. We charge on the higher end for our produce because we believe that we deserve to make a living wage- always aiming for 10 dollars an hour. We don’t hit that goal. Ever. But the CSA allows us to get closer, and to not totally burn ourselves out going up against land insecurity (the farm is up for sale once again!), freak hail storms (90 mile an hour winds and half an hour of marble sized hail ruined one market for us and ruined our crops for the next two), disease and pests. And then it rained again at the farmers market and no one came the week our produce had finally bounced back from a death by a trillion ice balls. Three out of five markets were busts.
Through it all our lovely CSA members allowed us to pay our rents and utilities for the crazy month of June. We are incredibly grateful and devoted to our members and spend more time planting and thinking of how we are going to pick and bag and grow a healthy CSA share that delivers on our promise of high quality fresh salad, greens and culinary herbs while throwing in some odds and ends that give you a sense of how a farm season works. We are working FOR and WITH our members to support ourselves. We are the only farms doing this on a micro scale and in the City. July will be crazy and so will August and September but we are tired and happy to be working on this project and getting to know our members.