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To give members a better sense of just what community shared agriculture is all about, Bob Budd shares his experiences with us. Those who want to look into CSAs more should consider attending the Organic Conference at the Univ. of Guelph in January, the York University conference in March (see Coming Events), as well as The Budd tour on June 18.
By Bob Budd
People continue to be further and further removed from the source of their food. The vast majority of it is being funnelled through the ever tighter controls of the marketplace. Producers who grow for the system, whether organic or otherwise, are likely to be always at the mercy of market forces well beyond their control.
I've learned that the community part of a CSA actually consists of a group of people, not a place, sharing the responsibility of growing their food well. It is an opportunity to take the marketplace right out of a process that's just too important to everyone's, and everything's well-being to leave in the hands of a few.
My experience is that people begin to forget the unit price of food and start to look at things in a more holistic way. It starts to turn into a collective agreement to meet each others' needs, and the needs of the land.
From notes by Bob Budd
The Huron Community Garden has been in operation for four years. Although initially started by another grower, the Budds joined in with the first twelve families, and offered the use of their land as payment for a share. At that time Bob provided some equipment, and helped at busy times. Two years ago, he took over as the grower. Bob presently grows a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, in all over forty kinds, on approximately four acres of land.
Members come twice a week, from June to October to pickup their share. If they live nearby in Goderich and prefer, it can be delivered for a fee. In winter, members can come on Saturdays and get what they need from their share of storage crops. Bob recently finished building cold storage facilities on the farm, with the cost of materials being funded by the CSA.
Members have grown in number through the years. Fifty local families and a couple of restaurants now have shares in the production. Although the Budds have done some advertising, and have had some coverage in local papers, most new members have joined because they've heard good things about the food, or because they have health concerns. Having members who recognize they're getting something they couldn't otherwise have has helped a lot.
The CSA has worked better each year, and the Budds expect to continue with their efforts. They hope to expand the variety of foods grown at their farm. The Budds also want to work out cooperative agreements with other growers, i.e. Ontarbio, to make other produce available to their members.
Copyright © 1994 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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