CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. These days, the term is most often used to describe a shipment of locally grown produce delivered to you once a week or every other week.
Not only is this model super convenient for you, but it also helps us farmers! Having payments and orders upfront allows us to specifically plan how much food to grow each season. With a plan in place, this avoids waste and allows us to farm sustainably. Farmers markets, for example, aren’t always the most ideal options for us, since we don’t know how much to plan for.
Sustainability is at the heart of what we do here at Rise ‘N Shine, and the CSA method allowed us to share our naturally-grown produce for years. However, as time passed, we found ways to spin this model to better serve our community.
Our CSA Roots
For 15 years, Rise ‘N Shine was the definition of a CSA! We’ve grown a variety of organic produce since 2004, and we’ve found that feeding our community members is one of the best jobs in the world. Potatoes, tomatoes, greens, beans, apples, strawberries, and more all found their way to notable locations nearby to get picked up every week or two. Our farm is in the middle of Rome and Calhoun, but we quickly grew to serve people in the NWGA area as well as folks in Atlanta. Thanks to those people, we’re now able to supply a bounty of more than 40 types of organic produce year-round.
There are plenty of benefits to the CSA model. You’re supporting local businesses, getting exposed to new kinds of produce and new ways to cook, and you get to develop a relationship with the people who grow your food. That last part comes with a sense of ownership – we’re all in this together!
After 15 years of operating solely on this model, we noticed that our customers wanted more than just produce in their boxes. In 2017, we added over 3,000 pasture-raised hens to the family so we could also provide pastured eggs. It got to the point where many people only wanted some produce and really wanted our eggs, as well as other local products. Additionally, we had some incredible relationships with producers all over the region that offer amazing products not readily available to our customers.
So: We had the customers and they want more than just the standard CSA. We knew producers and they needed to sell more of their products to remain successful. Here’s where the lightbulb moment happened: we needed to put it all together and offer a direct line to locally-sourced food that benefits more than just Rise N’ Shine Farm. Voila! The Local Farm Box was born!
So, What’s the Difference?
The Local Farm Box doesn’t just include fruits and vegetables. We’ve expanded to pair these items with more grains, dairy, and LOTS of other staples from local producers as permanent additions to the new Local Farm Box. Now, you can have even more of your grocery list shipped to you from us — Mitch, Elisabeth, and the Rise ‘N Shine team — as well as some folks you might already know. We’re committed to making it even easier to access the great foods from these amazing growers and producers who are right in your backyard.
However, in order to sustainably operate, we needed to operate by the CSA standard of selling goods upfront. After all, we need to know how much to grow and sell. The CSA model allows us to plan, sustain, grow, and depend on our customers so that we can provide for our family and the community.
Even so, we wanted to create a payment system that was easier on you and your wallets. If you sign up for the Local Farm Box, You pay for the first box at sign up and then pay for the rest of the week they are delivered.
Our spin on the CSA offers all the benefits of supporting local, discovering new foods, and creating stronger relationships within your community. But, you get a whole lot more than produce if you want and you get to pick and choose exactly what you get!
This all goes back to our mission: to provide high-quality, healthy local foods directly to you, to support and strengthen our communities. Especially now, where supporting our fellow small businesses is so impactful, your passion for eating locally makes this possible.