July 19, 2010

The C in CSA

There are over 100 families participating in the Grand Street CSA this year. In 2008, when this CSA first started, membership was made up largely of people who had heard about it through the LES Parents forum and therefore already had some things in common. But since then, the CSA has grown larger and broader, picking up many people who just happened across distribution one week and signed up on our wait list, not necessarily knowing anyone else who belonged but just wanting to get their hands on our beautiful vegetables.

And slowly the C in CSA — Community — grows up.

Distribution is a great time to get to know your neighbors. Each week, you'll see children playing with each other on the steps at Abrons, and members swapping recipes or just chatting about summer vacation. Communities like ours — casual, collaborative, routine, local — aren't always so easy to find in NYC. Aside from the good food, it's one thing that makes the CSA such a rewarding project.

And, by and large, everyone's been amazingly helpful and flexible. Muted reaction to our disastrous second distribution was a strong indicator of members' willingness to ride the unpredictability of our partnership with the A in CSA. But we wanted to remind everyone of three things you can do to reinforce the cooperative nature of our community:

Put your volunteer shifts in your calendar.
Everyone is required to work two volunteer shifts during the summer. Based on your own indication of availability, we've filled up the whole calendar already. Don't wait until we send you a reminder five days before your assigned shift, please check our calendar now and find your name, then put it in your own calendar so you don't forget.

Please wait until set-up is complete before picking up your shares.
Farmer Dave has a long drive from Connecticut every Tuesday, and he can't always make it down on time. When he's late, please wait until CSA volunteers have finished setting up the bins, labeling the shares, and writing up the white board before you start to bag your own vegetables. (Or better yet, lend a hand.)

Measure carefully.
Please weigh your produce carefully, checking the accuracy of the scale first with an empty bowl. We've run out of a few items recently before the end of distribution, which is not fair to members who can't make it to distribution until 8pm.

That's it. Thanks for your help.