Supporting Local Food Economies
Contributed by Caroline Levesque – Covenant Farm
Winter is thawing and spring is radiating forth. At the farm we are planning gardens, planting seeds, and starting to draw people’s attention toward a new season of fresh local produce. Although many farms are planning for the upcoming season, our farm does not follow the conventional logic of the global food economy.
The conventional logic goes something like this: the farmer makes a farm plan in the winter, purchases the seeds early in the spring, prepares the fields, plants, weeds and waters all season long, then harvests when the vegetables and fruits are ripe to bring to market. It seems pretty straightforward except that the farmer is working really hard all season, more than half the year, without an income, living on the hope and dream of a good price at the end. The farmer is at the mercy of fluctuating global markets. When we factor in climate, high employee turnover and pests, farming is a risky business and the farmer carries all the weight on her shoulders. Meanwhile families searching for healthy, fresh produce without breaking the bank are also feeling the impact of fluctuating food prices on the global market.
Our farm uses a different, locally based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. Our farm is a community, a network of people who support local farms and shares the risks and benefits of food production. This collaborative model is called Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA and it fosters beautiful partnerships for sustainable livelihoods, land use, food systems and economies for all. The farm is essentially growing food just for you.
Here is how is works: the consumer is a partner who invests in the farm by purchasing a share of the season’s expected production before the season begins. In this way each partner contributes to funding the whole season’s budget, from seed purchases and garden planning in January, to seeding in March, to planting out in the fields in May throughout the whole summer of fresh, organic, high quality produce. The farm then delivers fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit to their community of partners every week throughout the season. This direct-to-consumer system ensures the very highest quality of produce while reducing overall food waste.
The CSA is not just a fancy marketing scheme. It is a practical approach to creating new systems of cooperation, economy, and sustainability where everyone benefits. This year we are extending the network to collaborate with more small businesses that also strive to create sustainable, local economies. By building strong local economies, we are ensuring long-term price stability for partners and a stable income for producers and distributors, which create ripples throughout all layers of the economy.
Buying a CSA share is an investment in the long-term development of the farm ensuring that there is always fresh, quality produce available in our region. A healthy farm can grow and expand to include more types of production, offering an ever-expanding diversity of fresh produce throughout the year and creating more sustainable livelihoods within our communities.
This year we are forming a partnership with Goodfood2u for the weekly home delivery of fresh, certified organic produce. This collaboration will enable us to focus more attention on high quality farm produce while promoting Jennifer’s and Yannick’s amazing customer service and brilliant expertise in sustainable local economies. Buying a CSA share through Goodfood2u You is supporting many families, contributing to ecological sustainability and providing you with fresh, certified organic veggies and fruit.
Ferme du Covenant Farm is a community farm with 2 acres and 3 greenhouses in certified organic vegetable, sprouts and fruit production with summer and winter CSA delivery. We have about 5 beehives in production and 50 laying hens, all managed organically. Next projects on the horizon include fruit forest garden, agro-forestry, maple syrup, mushrooms, wild vegetables, grains, wool and flax for fibers, farm vacations and a center for sustainability. Welcome to join our community!
Note: In addition to offering the Covenant Farm CSA, Goodfood2u customers have been enjoying a variety of organic sprouts from Covenant winter long and we are excited to soon offer their spring greenhouse greens! You can find these in our weekly Fruits and Vegetable Category.