What Do I Get For Volunteering?

Volunteering requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

The Central Brooklyn CSA has a minimum volunteer requirement of 4 hours of service for every adult member who is part of a share (regardless of whether a member receives a half or a full share).

The volunteer requirement serves has two primary functions: 1) to lower the cost of food for every member (despite income level), and 2) to promote the idea of “community” within our CSA.

So if you are wondering “Do I get a discount on weeks I volunteer?,” the answer is “yes, and no. “Volunteering helps the Central Brooklyn CSA save money by not hiring workers. Those savings are factored into the total cost of every share before you pay a dime.  So all members of the CSA “get something” for their efforts, we just get it up front!

Participating in the CSA community is just as important as the money members save. CSA’s answer complicated questions about sustainability, supporting local economies, healthy living, and community empowerment, with a very simple and effective solution. By realizing the power our community members have to work together, we are able to collectively increase our access to healthy foods at a low cost, help keep local farmers in business, and do all this in an Earth-friendly way. Score!

By requiring every adult CSA member to volunteer at least for hours, our CSA enables us to make contact and encourages us as a community to work together on other community related as well.

So, that is what you get for volunteering!

If you have questions about our volunteer requirement, or just questions in general, you can call us, e-mail us at CentralBrooklynCSA@gmail.com, write on our facebook wall (Central Brooklyn CSA), hit up our myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/531196295), or follow us on Twitter @CentralBklynCSA!  Phew! It’s tiring trying to be everywhere!

Affordability

Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents!

On the average CSA’s cost less than buying the same foods in “traditional” stores.  In fact, when you do the math, most CSA’s cost a lot less. I would not say I am cheap (my girlfriend, however, would), but I do hate to overpay for things. The cost value in most CSA’s is probably the reason I signed on in the first place, and for me, the savings are real.  What’s more, paying for four months of produce all at once helps me budget what I spend on groceries better (sweet!) and helps me eat better, too (more on this in a later post!).

There is a risk in CSA’s – since the food is pre-purchased, local weather conditions can affect the harvest. However, CSA’s use professional farmers, who are up to the challenges that weather provides and rarely if ever are CSA members left holding the (empty) bag. (The proof is in the pudding on this one, most CSA’s bring back the vast majority of their members year-to-year.)

Because CSA’s pair communities directly with farmers and use cooperative labor, they often represent the greatest value in purchasing locally grown, sustainable produce around. But don’t just take my word for it, sign-up and see for yourself!

Membership Has It’s Privileges

Why did I first join a CSA? My girlfriend made me. Ok, she did not so much force me, as much as she led me to believe that if we did not join, my life would be considerably less pleasant for the foreseeable future.  As they say, “Mama didn’t raise no fool,” and shortly thereafter I found myself a member of my first CSA.

There were a lot of reasons I was hesitant to join, but the biggest one was simple: CSA’s are different than the traditional supermarkets I was used to. In most CSA’s, you pay for your share (typically one to two seasons worth of food) all at once, before the season begins. The food is seasonal – meaning you get what naturally comes out of the ground at that time of the year, and since my CSA, like most, partnered with a local farmer, that meant no tomatoes in June. Since I have an unnatural love of tomatoes, this was awful news. The food looks like it has just been harvested – it has – which means there may be a little more dirt on fruits and vegetables than we are accustomed to.  And of course there is a volunteer requirement (you mean I have to pay AND work for my food?!).

If CSA’s are so so different than traditional supermarkets and bodegas, why I am so excited to be a part of a CSA now? The first five reasons that come to mind are 1) it is affordable; 2) the food is delicious; 3) I get to “do something” in my community; 4) I feel like I am making a difference; and 5) it is different than a traditional supermarket.

We thought it would be cool if we made a “Why I joined my CSA, a regular series of posts that anyone can contribute to, so that is exactly what we are doing! Over the next few days, I will post more about my reasons for joining, but we would really love if you took the ball and ran with it – so feel free to comment or write your own post too!

Eat Well, Until We Meet Again,

JT

Mail in Your Forms!

Just a reminder that you CAN mail in your vegetable & fruit and/or eggmembership agreements and payments (Please note, you MUST secure your vegetable share BEFORE you may secure a fruit or egg share).  It is not necessary for you to come to a sign-up event to secure your spot!

You may mail your forms to:

New York City Coalition Against Hunger

50 Broad Street, Suite 1520

New York, NY 10004

Please make checks payable to “NYCCAH”.

Now Offering Fruit and Egg Shares!

We are excited to announce that our membership forms for fruit and egg shares are now available! Just submit your form and payment, and enjoy!

Unfortunately, we do not have adequate funding to subsidize fruit and egg shares.  If you are interested and able to sponsor either share for a fellow member, please contact Maia Raposo at mraposo@nyccah.org, or at 212.825.0028 ext 205.

Where in Central Brooklyn is the Central Brooklyn CSA?

The Central Brooklyn CSA has no geographical boundaries in terms of membership. Our distribution (food pick-up) location is the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The Central Brooklyn CSA has no geographical boundaries in terms of membership. As long as you can make it on time to pick up your food (and just as importantly, meet your volunteer commitments), consider yourself a part of our community!

Our distribution (food pick-up) location is the Hebron Seventh Day Adventist Church. It is located on the corners of New York Avenue and Dean Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn (11216).  Distributions take place on Wednesdays from 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM.  Our first pick-up will take place on June 16th!