Sophia’s Pantry CSA will begin accepting applications for our 2023 CSA in February.
To receive notifications for the 2023 season, please sign up for emails or come back and visit this page again in February.
We made several changes to Sophia’s Pantry over the last year to make it even better.
- Better variety: We are using a farm management tool to enable us to offer a better variety of vegetables spread throughout the season’s weeks.
- New smaller share option: Designed with a single person or a family who eats lightly in mind, the new Personal Share contains selected veggies in small quantities.
- West End RVA drop: We have added a drop location in Richmond’s Far West End. Through a new partnership, we will now be at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on River Road.
- Donate a share of veggies: We are partnered with a Richmond-based ministry MPACT in our new Share-a-Share Project for the donation of CSA shares.
- Thursday is the drop day: We have moved our drop day to Thursday (from Wednesday). The time window remains 4:30-6:00 pm.
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 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 purchase a CSA “share” 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 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 runs in 2 seasons, each approximately 13 weeks:
- Season 1: from mid May to late August and
- Season 2: from mid September to Thanksgiving
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.
Shares come in three sizes:
- Full Share ($450 + $20 one-time fee*)
- Half Share ($330 + $20 one-time fee*)
- Personal Share ($95 + $20 one-time fee*)
Shares are paid in 3 regular installments.
There is no restriction or extra charge for multiple households to go in together on a share.
Drops are weekly in the afternoon to early evening at several locations, including:
- Grace Baptist Church, 4200 Dover Road, Richmond, VA, 23221
- St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 12291 River Road, Richmond, VA 23238
- the Battery Park area of Richmond, 23222
- Laurel Branch Farm, 15233 Gatewood Road, Dinwiddie, VA, 23841
For any weeks when partners are not able to pick up their share at their usual drop, they can arrange for that week:
- to pick up at another drop location,
- to designate someone else to pick up their share, or
- to donate their share via Sophia Farms’ regular tithing and the Share-a-Share Project
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 email@example.com.
New in 2022: The Share-a-Share Project
Through a partnership begun last year with Polly Jones-Mason and her ministry, MPACT, we are now able to offer you the opportunity to purchase a CSA share for donation. Through MPACT, Mrs. Jones-Mason has assembled a volunteer team who prepare a weekly hot, delicious, nutritious meal for those in Richmond experiencing homelessness. Stated goals of MPACT are not only to alleviate hunger, but also to “strengthen and enrich the community life of the disadvantaged and homeless in Richmond, Virginia.”
Donors can participate in this partnership by purchasing a half share or a full share. Then, in our weekly CSA picking and packing, we will combine all donated shares for delivery to MPACT to be used in meal preparation.
The Share-a-Share project works in harmony with Sophia’s commitment to our core value of tithing of our produce. This tithe largely goes to the Colonial Heights Food Pantry. The tithe together with the Share-a-Share Project enables Sophia to partner in food justice work both locally to the farm in Dinwiddie County and locally to the majority of our CSA customers in the greater Richmond area.
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 Thursday 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
- updates from the farm
- information on items in the share, including how to store and preserve them
- recipes from the Farm Steward and other folks in the Sophia community, including CSA partners, using ingredients from the week’s share
What to Expect in Your CSA Share
Season 1 shares begin with cool season vegetables and transition to warm season vegetables. Season 2 shares begin with warm/hot season vegetables and transition back to cool season vegetables. Weekly shares will include 5-8 different items.
Cool season shares are planned to include:
- other leafy greens, including kale, spinach, swiss chard, and arugula
- bok choi
- winter squashes, including butternut and spaghetti (Fall)
- sweet potatoes (Fall)
Warm/hot season shares are planned to include:
- tomatoes, slicing and cherry
- summer squash, including yellow squash and zucchini
- bell peppers, green and colored
- banana 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.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.