What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a term that refers both to a particular model of selling produce, but at a more fundament level CSA also refers to the philosophy underpinning the model: a partnership between a farm and the community local to that farm. In a CSA model, partners join for membership in a CSA prior to the produce season. These pre-paid subscriptions fund the operating costs for the farm season, and partners receive a weekly share of the farm produce in return.
The CSA philosophy emphasizes the interrelationship between a farm and a community and asks partners to share directly in both the costs and the returns of a farm’s work. Yes, as a partner you do share in the farm’s risk, but you also share in the farm’s success. And that success is to partake of seasonal produce, grown locally through environmentally sustainable practices, harvested at the height of ripeness, nutritious and flavorful.
Details of Sophia’s Pantry CSA Partnership
Sophia’s Pantry CSA will run in 2 seasons, each approximately 13 weeks:
- Season 1: from mid-May to mid-August
- Season 2: from mid-August to early November (Join Now)
Each week, partners will receive a pre-sorted share of the harvest via pickup at a designated “drop” location and time. Weekly shares will include 5-8 different items.
Season 2 shares come in two sizes:
CSA – Full Share
Feeds 4 people, 2 if vegetarian $450 per season
(At signup: $100 1st installment + $20 fee for new Season 2 members for sustainable packaging materials for the season; $175/month for 2nd and 3rd installment charged at end of each month)
Season 1 members should use the coupon code member in your cart before you check out. Because you already paid $20 for sustainable packaging, this coupon code will ensure you don’t pay it again.
As a partner in Sophia’s Pantry CSA, you pay only $35/week for a full share or $25/week for a half share of local, seasonal, delicious vegetables grown with organic-based practices. Sophia’s Pantry has 50 shares available for the season, so sign up soon to reserve your share.
At signup, you will be charged for the first installment. New partners for Season 2 will also be charged a fee of $20 for sustainable packaging materials for the season. The 2nd and 3rd installments will be automatically charged to your card at the end of the current month and the following month. There is no restriction or extra charge for multiple households to go in together on a share.
Drops will be Wednesdays in the late afternoon/early evening at:
- Grace Baptist Church, 4200 Dover Road, Richmond, VA, 23221
- Ginter Park Baptist Church, 6100 Chamberlayne Road, Richmond, VA, 23227
- Laurel Branch Farm, 15233 Gatewood Road, Dinwiddie, VA, 23841
For any weeks when partners are not able to pick up their share at their designated place and time, they can arrange for that week either
- to pick up at another drop location,
- designate someone else to pick up their share, or
- donate their share via Sophia Farms’ tithing program
For any week when a partner is a “no-show” and has not made any arrangements, the share will be donated. If a partner must drop out during the season, Sophia’s Pantry will transfer the share to an individual designated by the partner.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why become a Sophia’s Pantry CSA Partner?
To receive a weekly share of seasonal produce, with benefits of vegetables that are:
- healthier, better tasting, and longer-lasting than grocery store vegetables
- grown with sustainability-focused methods and organic-based practices
- benefitting the environment through aspects such as farming practices and “food miles” (distance food travels from origin to final destination)
- directly support the farmer, in this case Sophia Farms (and Sophia Seminary)
To support the life and work of Sophia Theological Seminary:
- Sophia Farms has been established to fund the operating costs of Sophia Theological Seminary
- the relationship between Sophia Farms and Sophia Seminary recognizes God’s first commandment to be stewards of creation; food connects humanity to creation and to God and agriculture is a resource for God’s work in the world
- students, along with faculty and others, contribute their labor to the work of Sophia Farms, including Sophia’s Pantry CSA, thus “funding” their seminary tuition and housing
- Sophia tithes (10%) from its produce to local food ministries
As a CSA partner, each Wednesday morning of the season, you’ll receive the Sophia’s Pantry email, “Just Picked”. In addition to serving as a reminder to swing by and pick up your share that day, “Just Picked” includes:
- a list of what to expect in your share
- an update from the farm
- information on the week’s “Featured Vegetable”
- guidance on how to store and preserve items in your share
- recipes from folks in the Sophia community, including CSA partners, using ingredients from the week’s share
What to Expect in Your CSA Share
May to July shares begin with cool season vegetables and transition to warm season vegetables. August to November shares begin with warm season vegetables and transition to cool season vegetables. Weekly shares will include 5-8 different items.
Cool season shares could include:
- other leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
- bok choi
- collards (Fall)
- various squashes (Fall)
- pie pumpkin (Fall)
- sweet potatoes (Fall)
Warm season shares could include:
- green beans
- summer squash
- bell peppers
- hot peppers
- green onions
Our Relationship to Food in a Post-Pandemic World
As our world navigates the changes necessitated subsequent to the pandemic, we are also confronted with what the pandemic has revealed to us about our relationship to food, and we are prompted to consider what practices we desire to make permanent.
- Sophia Farms follows sustainable agricultural practices that shape all aspects of work on the farm, including harvesting, storing, and distribution procedures that emphasize the well-being of both CSA workers and partners.
- CSA partners receive local, seasonal, fresh, nutritious produce, reducing the need to visit establishments such as grocery stores.
- CSA partners are ensured a share of the weekly farm yield, so availability of produce is more predictable.
- Sophia Farms tithes from its produce to extend the availability of our produce to those in the community who experience food insecurity.