Alright folks, here we go! The 2019 CSA sign ups are now open! What does CSA stand for, you might ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. What does it mean? It means that by supporting a local farmer, you are ensuring that your family will eat fresh products, in my case herbs and vegetables, that are grown right here in Alberta! A CSA creates a symbiotic relationship between Farmer and Consumer. You will actually know the face of the person who grows your food and you will also have the chance to create a closer connection with them. In doing so, you will have a better understanding of how your food is grown and in essence, a better understanding of the products that you and your family consume. Farmers with a CSA genuinely care about you and your family’s well being!
Today marks the beginning of a new season. It’s funny how I don’t really see my years starting in January anymore, but instead I see the year unfolding in front of me as members begin to sign up and there are endless possibilities ahead. This will be my third season providing locally grown vegetables to families in Wetaskiwin, Edmonton, and surrounding areas. During the spring of 2017 I was full of uncertainty and trepidation as I tentatively asked my friends and family if they would consider becoming members of my first CSA. That first year was frightening and wonderful all at once, and it is because there were 15 people willing to take a chance on me. Last year I was pleasantly surprised because all of a sudden people who I didn’t even know me were signing up! I watched my business expand and a dream become a reality. I have incredibly fond memories of my members from last summer, and I hope that is something that continues with each new season.
Community Supported Agriculture. The title spells it all out - the community supports a farmer. But in actuality, it is just so much more than that. A CSA creates a community within itself. My experience, although brief, has been nothing short of incredible. Relationships have been forged where I would otherwise not have the opportunity and I love the personal connection that allows me to hear their praises or to address any concerns. I will forever be indebted to my members because without them I never would have been able to make the terrifying jump to become a farmer. It absolutely has been a dream come true.
Somebody once said that you can’t go home again and I think they were wrong. I have come home and it has been better than I ever could have imagined. The small farming community of Rosebrier has welcomed me with open arms and I am proud to be a part of it! Life long neighbour and friends have also become my customers, supporting my vision of a market garden nestled between the acres of cropland. I am overcome with joy each and every time I am met at the door with a smile and a kind hello. Feeling like you are a part of something bigger than yourself is not only inspirational but also incredibly humbling. This feeling of appreciation and loyalty is exactly what CSA’s should bring forth!
“To plant a garden means to believe in tomorrow.” Instead of engaging in such polarizing conversations that surround agriculture these days I am choosing to be a part of the solution. I want to create a world where people can actually see where their food is coming from. I want to encourage people to come out and take a tour of the farm! Consumers can see first hand the many complex and wonderful things that go into this labor of love. CSA’s help to bridge that gap and can give members a closer connection to the efforts that are put into their bounty.
I have big dreams for my future, some of them I haven’t even fully realized yet, but I look forward to the lessons I will learn this year. With each season I have grown, adapting new techniques and business models as I go. Farming isn’t easy. Hell, sometimes it seems completely hopeless. And yet it is the one thing on this earth that I am most sure about. Why do I do this? Because I love good wholesome food. I love farming. And I love being able to do it on Graves family land.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to be a part of Fifth Gen's 2019 CSA! Sign up today!