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CSAs Will Be More Accessible With New Online Tool

CSAs Will Be More Accessible With New Online Tool

Despite writing about them, visiting them and in general loving everything Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) stands for, I’ve never joined one.

CSA is a program that lets you purchase seasonal “shares” from a farm in exchange for a weekly delivery of fruits, vegetables and other farm products like milk, eggs and dairy.

Sounds great, right? So why haven’t I signed up? Well… money is one reason, but it’s also because I like technology. Too many of my waking hours are spent in front of some sort of screen. Farms and CSAs, on the other hand, are generally a little slow to adapt when it comes to technology. Without regular visits to my local farmers market or talking to a friend who’s already signed up, the opportunity to join a CSA would almost never cross my path.

Until now.

Yesterday, a service called Farmigo launched as part of the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield, and it’s got a lot of potential when it comes to increasing access to local farmers and the delicious, healthy food they cultivate.

Farmigo enables the group-buying of fresh food directly from local farms & producers, making it affordable to get local, seasonal food. You can start or join a convenient pick-up location (workplace, school, neighborhood) and have different farms, producers and fishermen deliver fresh food directly to your group. Farmigo provides the platform for you and the producer to formulate a relationship and manage it in a convenient fashion.

With only 1,500 locations in the database so far, I was pretty surprised to find that Farmingo had a listing for the smallish Wyoming city where I live. It not only gave options for fruit and veggie shares, but also cheese, flowers, artisan bread and mushrooms!

While Farmingo claims to make CSA subscriptions more affordable as well as convenient, I found some of the share prices a little breathtaking. But I’m sure that varies with each farm and distance to the drop off point. And when compared to what you’ll pay for much lower quality at the grocery store, the math eventually works out.

Farmingo also includes some interesting features that should help bring CSAs to areas where they are currently lacking. According to TechCrunch, the company is using “a ‘tipping point’ model (as popularized by Groupon), where you need a minimum number of participants before you’re able to create a new CSA in your area (if you don’t have enough people, it isn’t worth the farmers’ while). The company believes this fact will help the service spread virally — just like Groupon, users have an incentive to get their friends to sign up.”

Related Reading:

From Small Seeds, Urban Farms Grow

Are There Too Many Farmers’ Markets?

Are You Shopping At A Fake Farmers’ Market?

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Image Credit: Flickr - katmeresin

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6:45PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

I really, really, want to join one!

5:57AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

We were finally able to join a CSA this year. We've wanted to forever but the cost was "too high" until we figured out what it actually cost per week and looked at what we were spending on produce at the supermarket per week; suddenly it looked like a bargain! That it is all organic is the delicious icing on the cake made of awesome that is our local CSA. We Love it and it helps us eat so much better. We have opportunities to pick-our-own of certain veggies and herbs and such so our CSA also connects us to our food and how it is produced. Wonderful!

11:38AM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Thanks interesting great idea! :)

8:58PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

@Morgana-Organic does not always trump local, or vice versa. One must know their farmers practices. the term 'organic' has been so watered down as to mean nothing these days I know very few small farmers in my area willing to pay the hefty fees for certification.

Most 'organic' these days is from big agribusiness firms.

8:55PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

"I found some of the share prices a little breathtaking

id be curious to know what sort of pricing you consider 'breathtaking'.

Generally, a CSA subscription might be a few hundred dollars up front, but over the year, the value FAR exceeds grocery store or market costs.

6:52PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:05PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

We've got access to great local farmers markets, and to neighbors who sell excess organic produce and eggs from their truck parked along our road. Even though not something I'd use, this is a great idea.

3:05PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

This is a great idea for areas in the lower 48. Here in Alaska, we have this service but due to the limits on what will grow here, the baskets are often filled with potatoes, carrots and cabbage... not particularly exciting or cost effective. Hopefully things will get better before too long and there will be more variety in what's offered!

1:59PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Interesting. Thanks.

1:55PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

will check it out. just recently started 'farm fresh to you'. they have a small box for $25 which can be delivered weekly or every other week. i get another csa delivery from tanaka farms via rockview delivery. and another organic delivery service called 'spud'.

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