Community Shared Agriculture (CSA), is a local food option that enables shareholders to participate in a mutually beneficial relationship with farmers. In a CSA, share-holders purchase annual shares of the vegetables, fruit, meat or eggs grown or raised on the farm. Members-- or shareholders-- commit in advance of the growing season and then receive a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly allocation of seasonal produce.
Shareholders commit to a new model of food production. This model is designed to create stronger relationships between local farms and local families. By purchasing shares in the farm's annual production, families help cover the upfront costs of production and guarantee a local market for food before and during its production. Shareholders commit to a whole season or year of farm production by paying for a weekly box of local produce and products in advance.
By entering into shareholding agreements farmers invite the community to actively support agriculture. The cheap, often unethical, and sometimes unsafe, production of food (often on the other side of the globe) has given large producers and exporters an unfair advantage. This and other commercial farming practices of the last few decades have placed the family farm in great jeopardy. Shareholders in local farms are a key component of "community shared agriculture." At TapRoot Farms, and other small farms across Canada, shareholders are helping to stabilize the local farm economy. They are countering the commercial farming practices that are threatening family farms and farmland. As a result they are also assured of produce that is the freshest-of-the-fresh.
At TapRoot Farms we are committed to continually improving our agricultural methods. This is to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources (water, air, soil, ecosystem), long-term viability of our farm and increase biodiversity. We believe in providing people with food that is delicious, nutritious and ethically produced.
TapRoot Farms use sustainable farming practices, up to, and including Certified Organic. Our guarantee to shareholders is to clearly indicate which products are organic and which are not. We currently have 75 acres in certified organic production, 42 acres in transition to organic, and are increasing this each year.
leeks, napa cabbage, savoy cabbage, beets, pumpkins, squash, greens, carrots, apples, kale, onions, garlic, celeriac, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnip/rutabaga, potatoes, sweet potatoes...
TapRoot's year begins the first week of April with your first spring delivery. That week and every week thereafter we will deliver excellent value to our shareholders.
Weekly deliveries will vary based on availability of product. Because TapRoot grows produce in greenhouses as well as open fields, you can expect fresh greens earlier in the season. Strawberries and raspberries also start early. At TapRoot we also take advantage of Nova Scotia's most abundant months to deliver unique items of high nutritional and taste value.
Each week you will receive a newsletter full of important information on your weekly share, recipes (or links to recipes), photos and news from the farm, and information about upcoming events.
At TapRoot Farms we want to hear from you; feedback and comments are always welcome. We are dedicated to forming a mutually supportive, strong relationship with each of our shareholders.
Over the past few years we have heard from families that there can be some ups and downs to adjusting to a CSA. People who like to have meals all planned out in advance can find it difficult to adjust to the uncertainty of what is in your CSA. To accommodate our various needs, we post a list of what we intend to have included in the share for the following week every Friday. This is listed on the website and you can also see it by logging in.
Often people will find at times that they are challenged to prepare and eat foods that they would not typically choose for themselves. This can be both hard and rewarding at the same time. We want to support you in having positive feelings about your CSA share and membership. There are lots of recipes and ideas on our blog from the past three years. In the weekly newsletters we provide suggestions of recipes and/or meal suggestions. If a member has prepared a meal that they wish to share, we invite you to share it with us and we post it onto the blog. You can also do this on our Facebook page: often members give each other ideas.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by something, please share with us and seek our support in generating ideas or ways to make it more fun. Eating differently doesn't need to be burdensome but exciting and healthy and refreshing. We have heard and can see that it makes a big difference when your whole family is involved and is asked to be a part of the food journey. The kids love to be a part of deciding about recipes and helping to cook the food. Often when they are invited to participate they are inspired to eat all sorts of new things.
One final point on adjusting that we have noticed over time. As consumers items available to us are typically bright, shiny, and appear virtually perfect in every way. With the CSA your veggies and fruit will be perfectly delicious and nutritious in every way but might not always be perfect looking in every way. Meaning that if you see a blemish on a potato or wire worm damage on a carrot, you can still eat it. Just cut around it and carry on. Also, sometimes you will notice that your CSA veggies have more dirt on them than you are use to at the grocery store. This may be because we just harvested before the truck departed or it may be because our wash station was broken down or because we needed to prioritize jobs. We strive to have them all washed for you, but just in case we want you to be prepared.
We are so fortunate that in Nova Scotia there are lots of CSA's to choose from. Each CSA is different in what they offer, where they have pickup locations, how, when and how much for payment options, how small or how big the farm is, mechanized vs horse powered, etc. If TapRoot isn't the right fit for your family, please consider and join a different CSA servicing, or in your region.
Thank you for helping to make local small scale agriculture in Nova Scotia a viable, real and celebrated option for farmers and communities.