CSA= Community Supported Agriculture

CSA= Community Supported Agriculture

Douglas Gayeton for Lexicon of Sustainability

CSA= Community Supported Agriculture

Location: Angelic Organics, Caledonia, IL

Featuring: Farmer John Peterson

CSA = community supported agriculture = a mutually sustaining relationship between the consumer (shareholder) and the farmer whereby each looks out for the other’s needs and well-being + “Consumer and Producer join hands and stand face-to-face in a flux of self-interest and empathy” – John Peterson

Twenty years ago John started a CSA at Angelic Organics. It saved his farm's life. Before then, he relied on wholesaling, farmers markets and hope. First, a couple in Chicago contacted him after they found his farm’s name on a bag of onions. Then a surge of members came after the Chicago Reader ran a cover story about CSAs and mentioned Angelic Organics (a week later he had over two hundred new members). “Think of the farm as a table,” John says. “Our members and farmworkers eat from the same table. They engage in a celebration and a sacrament.”

Each year John has his CSA shareholders sign their annual contract. It say: “I understand that the farm workers will do their best to provide all they have promised, and I agree to excuse them for the mishaps that might trip them up.” Each Wednesday morning twenty employees gather to fill 1100 boxes. A box, which contains 9 to 10 vegetables and an herb or two, is delivered each week for 20 weeks.

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