Frequently Asked Questions about CSA Membership
How is the CSA different than the Bushwick Food Coop?
The CSA is an arrangement directly with the farmer, in which you pay in advance, and pick up a box of produce each week. The produce is organically grown on a single farm (with some fruit and other items coming from local farms), and you have a direct relationship to the farmer. You cannot pick your produce, and share the risk in case there is a bad year, and you may not get as much produce or a variety of produce that you desire.
The Bushwick Food Coop is a member owned and run cooperative grocery store that is open to members and non members. You pay a membership fee and work 4 hours per month, and members pay a 24% markup over wholesale. Other than the membership fee and work requirement, it works just like a grocery store, you shop the selection that is available. It does have a wider variety of items, including Produce that may not be available through the CSA, pasture based dairy products, bulk grains, dried fruits and nuts, ice cream (vegan and traditional), packaged items, snack foods, and more. However, it is not a direct farmer relationship. Many people enjoy the CSA model for the direct farmer relationship, as well as paying in advance for their food and knowing a box of produce is waiting for them.
How do I know which week to pick up my half share?
When you sign up for a share on the Garden of Eve website you get the option to include a preference for which week you’d like to begin picking up; if you have no preference you can leave it blank and we’ll assign it for you. About a week before the summer CSA begins, you will get a request to join the CSA Google Group to begin receiving all communications about the upcoming season. Your co-managers will send out a list telling you which week to begin picking up your share — we call it “A” week and “B” week — and from there on out you come to distribution every other week. If you forget which week we’re on, you can always check the calendar.
Can I have a friend pick up my share for me?
Absolutely. Just make sure to remind your friend to bring their own bags (for summer CSA shares) and tell them to check in and give your name when they get to distribution. The shift volunteer will remind them what share you have and answer any questions they have.
I forgot to pick up my share. Can I pick up next week instead?
We understand that it’s easy to forget to pick up your share, but unfortunately it’s not as simple as letting you pick up next week instead. Our farmer Eve has an elaborate system for making sure she sends the right amount of each vegetable for each kind of share each and every week, and if we accommodated every person who missed a pick up, she would be endlessly adjusting her spreadsheets and, frankly, she’s much too busy growing your food to be doing that.
That said, if you haven’t picked up by the last hour of distribution, we do give you a reminder call, and if you are too far away to get there in time, we will often set a share aside for you and arrange another time for you to pick it up. If you don’t see our call until we’ve already packed up and gone, we apologize, but it’s too late. The sooner you realize you’ve forgotten and contact one of the managers, the better the chance you’ll have of getting your share, so don’t be afraid to give us a call.
I know I’m going to be gone the week of one of my pick ups. What can I do?
The easiest answer is to have a friend pick up for you and save you some food for when you return. If you’re going to be gone for a while, the alternative option is to send a request to the CSA google group to see if someone is willing to switch weeks with you. If you don’t have any luck with that route, often times one of the managers will take pity on you and switch their own week with you, so if worse comes to worse, just ask nicely and we’ll see if we can help.
What do I do if I have a crazy schedule and can’t find a time to work my volunteer shift?
The volunteer component of CSA is very important. It’s a lot of work, and your managers honestly can’t do it without help from members. When you sign up for a CSA share, please take your schedule into account and be prepared to ask for a few hours off of work sometime in the next 6 months if necessary. Alternatively, you can have a friend, family member, or roommate work your volunteer shift for you (people are often happy to help if you’re willing to share some of the veggies!). If you still can’t make a volunteer shift at distribution happen, please come and talk to us about it. There are a few other tasks we sometimes need help with that you can do another day or, occasionally, on your own time at home.
What do I do if I signed up for a volunteer shift but realize at the last minute that I can’t make it?
If you cancel your shift any time in the week leading up to when you had it scheduled, please send an email to the CSA google group requesting that someone else fill it for you. We understand that things come up, but please let us know as soon as possible so someone else can fill in.
What happens if I don’t work my volunteer shift?
We really don’t like to be mean… but it’s not fair to the members who have fulfilled the requirements and we also really need everyone to help! If you do not fulfill the volunteer requirement, we reserve the right to refuse membership in next year’s CSA. If you have made a good faith effort to talk to us about your difficulties, we will be more understanding.