Despite writing about them, visiting them and in general loving everything Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) stands for, I’ve never joined one.
A 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.
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.”
Image Credit: Flickr - katmeresin