Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 CSA Sign-ups are now open!


It's that time of year again- onion seeds are planted, the greenhouse is heating up, and CSA sign-ups are open! Read below for details about our CSA and check out the "CSA" tab for more information and the link to sign up!

The Roots of Community Supported Agriculture
The model for CSA came to the United States in the 1980s- people in different communities decided they wanted a stronger connection to their food, while farmers looked for additional outlets to sell their produce and also improve their cash flow. Once these groups connected, the customers, or members, prepaid for a “share” of produce so that the farmer could pay for seeds and supplies before the season. By doing this, members also acknowledged and embraced the risks- and rewards- that are inherent in farming. As a member of our CSA, we ask that you do the same. In return, we’ll work with our farmers to grow the best, freshest produce possible for you.

What Makes Us Unique
Juniper Gardens Training Farm – the home of the New Roots farmers – is more than just a farm – it’s also a school. Refugee farmers from different cultures come together to share their wealth of knowledge, and to learn how to adapt and apply that knowledge to the market in the United States. Some New Roots farmers will thrive as they develop long-lasting relationships with CSA Friends, while others will prefer the bustle of a high traffic market. Our job as staff is to expose farmers to every option available and help them discern which works best for them over the four years they spend at the training farm. Not everyone will be great CSA farmers, or think it’s the best option for them. We hope you’ll be patient with us, and our farmers, as we navigate the complexities of a training farm with language barriers and countless cultural differences. At the end of the season, we hope you’ll look back on your CSA experience with fond memories of delicious food and kind farmers.

The ultimate goal of our program is self-sufficiency for our farmers. This is why, when you buy a CSA with New Roots for Refugees, you’re paired with one farmer instead of getting produce aggregated from all 16 farmers. We want every farmer to experience the process of a CSA and work on developing those individual relationships. This means that our staff is coordinating over 50 CSA Friends, who each pick up at one of twelve different markets, 6 days a week, from 16 different farmers. Because of this, our staff won’t be able to tell you exactly what each farmer will have in their CSA every week, but we’ll do our best keep you informed about what’s in season, and we’ll work with our farmers to communicate with you. We also encourage you to engage with your farmer and their family about what they’re growing. There will undoubtedly be a time or two when miscommunication happens – that’s why we’re here to help! But just like we tell our farmers, if you have questions or concerns, we ask you to talk directly to them (or someone in their family) before reaching out to us. The more you can communicate with them, the faster they’ll learn what their new American customers want. Every interaction between you and your farmer is a learning opportunity- we hope you’ll embrace that part of your experience as a New Roots CSA Friend.


How Our CSA Works
New Roots CSA Friends pick up their shares every week at the same farmers market, from the same farmer. When you sign up, you’ll select your top two choices for market pickup, and you will be placed with a farmer based on your market preference. Next you’ll sign an agreement with your farmer and send in a $100 deposit to hold your spot (or the full amount if possible). The full amount will be due before the first pickup. All CSA pickups will begin between mid-May and mid-June, but will vary depending on the opening dates of different markets.

In 2015 we will offer two share sizes available for pickup at 12 markets (map) across Kansas City:

~Small share: 4-5 items every week for 18 weeks – $200

~Large share: 7-8 items every week for 18 weeks – $350

(One "item" means one bag, one box, one bunch, etc. – sizes may vary. For example, in a small share you might get 3-4 onions (depending on size), a quart box of potatoes, a bunch of carrots, and a bag of spinach.)

Additionally, we’ll be coordinating a small number of workplace drop-offs this year with farmers in their 3rd and 4th years of the program. If you have a group of 5-10 people at your office (or other centralized location, like a church, community building, etc.) who would be interested in purchasing CSA shares and having them dropped off once a week, please email mwalrafen@catholiccharitiesks.org. We have a limited number of spots open for this, so there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to accommodate everyone, unfortunately. Prices may vary slightly depending on the location of the drop-off.

What We Grow
Each of our farmers grows independently on their own ¼ acre and is responsible for what they grow and when they grow it. Below is a rough outline of what you can expect from our farmers during different seasons. New Roots farmers also grow a variety of ethnic crops that you may see when picking up your share.

~Spring (May – early June): green peas (sugar snap, shell, and snow), beets, green onions, spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale, swiss chard, asian greens (like bok choi and tatsoi), collard greens, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, cilantro, dill, parsley, chinese cabbage

~Summer (June – August): heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, various types of eggplant, okra, melons, cucumbers, onions, green onions, green beans, mustard greens, summer squash, basil, corn, burmese sorrel, yard long beans and noodle beans, asian cucumbers and edible gourds


~Fall (September-October): lettuce mixes, arugula, kale, collards, swiss chard, cabbage, winter squash, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, dill, peas

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