The CSA

I’ve known about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) for quite some time now, but had never really understood quite how they worked…or where they worked…or how I could possibly be part of the community that supported some small-scale agriculture somewhere.

When I got back from my trip the first thing in my inbox at work was a proposal to join in and buy shares together at a CSA so that we could all enjoy the year with fresh veggies from a known, trusted and local source. I thus learned of the process:

You buy a share or multiple shares of the farm for the season, much like stock in a company, but you’re investing in that season’s harvest. The shares you buy help the small farm with its operating costs and in return you and other share holders get a cut of the fresh produce–which can best meet any specific criteria you have, ie organic, since you’re picking the farm you invest in. I have a feeling most CSA farms would be organic though…but that’s just an assumption. In any case, it’s a pretty fantastic idea, I think.

Now what is new (and my fellow knitters will hopefully love this as much as me) is a YARN CSA! Holy hell, could it be? Yes. Thanks to Martha’s Vinyard Fiber Farm.

According to the website here’s how it works:

When you purchase a share in our CSA you are investing in our Spring 2008 “yarn harvest”. The money we receive from the shareholders will be used to purchase hay and feed for the animals and to increase the size of our flock. We recently added 10 bred nanny goats and two additional cormo ewes to our flock, and we are taking a serious look at a couple of alpaca. Every animal we add will increase the size of the clip and amount of yarn shearholders will receive.

After shearing, we’ll let our friends at the mill work their magic and soon you’ll receive your share of the harvest. You can elect to receive your portion in a “Knitter’s Share” of yarn or a“Spinner’s Share” of raw fleece or roving.The number of skeins, yaradage, etc., will depend on the size of the clip but we are limiting our shearholders this first year to ensure that everyone gets a bountiful supply. The fall shearing will be mohair and kid mohair.

The shares are going to be $100. Now the downsides are that you’re never quite sure how much you’re going to get and you may have to go to the farm to pick up your share. However, I’ve heard of food CSAs that they’re pretty dependable and a trip to Martha’s Vinyard may not be so bad:-). I know extra trips aren’t an option for most, so I’m going to find out about this one.  I think the idea is that the community that supports the agriculture is local…but I haven’t yet heard of other yarn CSAs.

The farm itself also seems to align with some of my ideals as well, on the environmental and the animal welfare fronts. For instance, the farm has “the fleeces processed by a small, family-owned, solar-powered mill owned by goat farmers, rather than sending them to a big commercial processor”.
I also love the little love story behind the farm’s creation…

I’m pretty sure I’m going to do this. I love the idea…and the prospect of going to the farm and picking up a new addition to my stash sounds fantastic!

Who’s in with me?

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