Want to enjoy local, fresh vegetables while supporting local agriculture? There’s still time to sign up for a community share agriculture (CSA) plan from the Youth Farm in Crown Heights. The deadline for registering for their vegetable and/or flower CSAs is June 6.
The CSA program is a natural fit for the education-focused Brooklyn farm, which offers both adults and students the chance to learn about organic farming, farm business management and compassionate leadership.
“Growing for and hosting two CSA programs supports a practical space where these farmers can understand what is needed to feed local communities while also stewarding the land and ecosystem,” CSA coordinator Shephali Patel said. “Being part of the process of managing the CSA program hopefully empowers these farmers in knowing that they can sustain themselves and their communities using traditional, natural, hand-scale farming methods.”
When the program first began in 2011, they offered twelve vegetable shares and seven flower shares. Today, they’re able to offer 30 vegetable shares and 25 flower shares from production on their one-acre farm.
“The CSA program brings in much needed operating revenue that supports our youth programming, adult education programs, community offerings and our ability to stay financially stable enough to maintain alignment with our mission and put our values to action every day,” Patel said.
How it works
Vegetable shares cost $515 with members receiving six to twelve vegetables and herbs every week for 20 weeks. The Youth Farm tries to grow culturally relevant vegetables as well as those requested for by their neighbors. Some of the vegetables and herbs you can expect throughout the season include collards, a variety of Caribbean seasoning peppers, bitter melon, cilantro, scallions, kale, heirloom tomatoes and more. Flower shares cost $215 and members get a pre-arranged bouquet every week for 17 weeks.
When registering for a membership, community members can choose from several different pickup days and locations in Brooklyn. Each CSA share is harvested no more than 8-12 hours before members receive it. While there is no work requirement, members can volunteer on the farm and the farm occasionally has member events.
“The CSA program gives the farm a much vital and necessary link to the community at all times,” Patel said. “It makes room for community members and partners to get involved with our farm and help drive our decision-making and culture.”