CSA Program

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CSA Program at a Glance

The UBC Farm CSA program provides members of the UBC campus and broader community with a weekly box of fresh produce grown locally with organic methods at the UBC Farm.

The 2014 CSA season is now finished. Please submit your contact information if you would like notification when the 2015 CSA program application season opens.

2015 CSA Contact List

Please submit your contact information if you woul dlike notification when the 2015 CSA program application season opens.

What is a CSA program?

CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs connect farmers and consumers in a partnership creating an alternative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. In such a partnership CSA members buy a share in the farm at the beginning of the season and then receive a weekly box of produce throughout the growing season. CSAs help farmers by providing income early in the season when startup costs are high, and by guaranteeing a market for the farmer’s produce. In return, members receive a regular supply of fresh, nutritious produce grown in an ecologically sustainable way. Members are also able to put a place and a face to their food by connecting to both the farm and farmer.

Access USDA’s database of publications related to Communtiy Supported Agriculture, including surveys and statistics on the economic benefits of such programs.

What is unique about UBC Farm’s CSA program?

The CSA program is an agricultural marketing and distribution initiative that is part of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems within the UBC Faculty of Land and Food systems.  While we strive to provide professional quality services to our CSA members, the ultimate goal of the program is educational. The CSA program provides experiential learning opportunities for both students and volunteers, and all financial proceeds go towards the operation of the farm. More than 2,500 students each year directly benefit from this unique learning environment.

What are the benefit of being a CSA member?

  • Fresh produce grown with organic methods.
  • Overall box savings.
  • Knowing the detailed face of your food, where it is grown, how it is grown, who is growing it.
  • Experiencing the joys of eating with the seasons.
  • Eating more sustainably by eating produce grown with organic methods, by eating in season, and by reducing your food miles.
  • Priority with limited items such as eggs and seasonal specialty items through pre-ordered add-ons.
  • CSA potlucks and volunteer opportunities.
  • Increasing your food literacy by receiving unique produce items that you may find unfamiliar.
  • A weekly e-mail with field up-dates and recipes for both staple and unique items.
  • Involvement in an organization at the leading edge of food security and sustainability.

Who can participate?

veggiebinThe CSA program is open to UBC students, faculty, staff, and to the general public. Part of our mission is to provide as much produce as possible to the UBC community. However, we strongly encourage all individuals to apply even if you are not directly associated with the UBC community.

In general, you will probably enjoy a CSA membership with us if you are not picky about what produce you receive; are happy with receiving primarily vegetables (minimal fruit); are open to trying new things; are comfortable communicating via e-mail; are able to pick up the shares during the allotted timeframes; and are not planning to be away for significant periods over the CSA season. Otherwise you might prefer to shop at our Tuesday on-site mini market, our Wednesday on-campus market, and/or our Saturday on-site market instead.

How long is the CSA season?

The program starts on Tuesday, June 10 and Saturday, June 14. The program runs for 20 weeks and ends on Tuesday, October 21 and Saturday, October 25. However, due to seasonal variations the start and end dates may vary by one week. Regardless of the start date, the program will run for 20 weeks.

How much does it cost and how do I pay?

Membership in the CSA is $550. This equates to a $27.50 value per week over a 20 week season.

Accepted members must pay their non-refundable $550 payment within 7 days of receiving their acceptance email. Otherwise your membership in the CSA will be offered to another applicant. The payment must be received (not simply postmarked) by the UBC Farm within 7 days. The acceptance email will contain a link to pay your member fee with a debit or credit card. We also accept cash and cheque payments, which can be dropped off at the Farm Centre office during farm hours, or sent to our mailing address. Cheques should be made out to UBC Farm. See Contact Us for street and mailing addresses. Regardless of which payment option members choose, payments must be receive (not simply postmarked) within 7 days of your acceptance email.

When & how do I pick up my share?

Members can pick up their CSA shares at the UBC Farm on Tuesdays between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm or on Saturdays between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Within the application members commit to one pick-up day throughout the season. Pick-up days are subject to cancellation if minimum participant members are not met.

At each pick-up members build their own box with the produce set out in containers based on the weekly share list. Members need to bring their own bags/baskets/containers to bring their produce home. Members will have the opportunity to interact with both farm staff and with each other during this time. Members will also have the opportunity to purchase add-ons.

What if I cannot pick up my share?

We encourage you to pick up your share during the allotted pick-up window. If you have a scheduling conflict and cannot pick up your share during the given timeframe, we encourage you to have someone pick-up your share on your behalf, either to save for you or to use for themselves. Unfortunately we cannot save your share for pick up at another time. If your share is not picked up during the allotted window the produce will be redistributed to avoid waste.

What is in a weekly share?

A weekly share consists of $27.50 worth of produce. Part of the philosophy behind CSAs is a system of shared risk and rewards. Thus, your share may contain less than $27.50 worth of produce, especially near the beginning of the season. However, share values will be higher most weeks such that over the entire season the average value is well above the paid-for value. We price the contents via the same prices we use at our markets. Beyond the monetary value, your share consists of 5 to 8 items per week, enough produce for two people who eat a lot of vegetables. The share also consists of a weekly email newsletter with thoughts about agriculture, field updates, announcements, and recipes.

Can I purchase add-ons?

There are three ways to purchase add-ons. 1) Members can place an ongoing order at the beginning of the season for items available the entire season. 2) Members can place a specific order for seasonal specialty and bulk items communicated through the CSA newsletter. 3) Members can simply purchase add-ons at the CSA pick-up, either at the Tuesday mini-market or the Saturday market. All add-on items need to be paid for at the time of pick-up. We accept cash or cheques ($30 minimum for cheques). We currently do not accept debit or credit cards for add-on payments.

While add-ons are subject to availability, they are always filled on a first come first serve basis. Thus pre-ordered add-ons are more likely to be served for limited items. Assuming availability, members are still charged for pre-ordered add-ons even if they do not pick up their shares. Similar to your shares, if your pre-ordered add-ons are not picked up they will be redistributed to avoid waste.

Favorite add-ons include pastured eggs, flower bouquets, berry flats, and additional produce. Egg add-ons are only offered every other week because egg quantities are limited.

Given your interest in the UBC Farm, we assume most of you know the ecological benefits of produce and eggs grown locally in season with organic methods. However, the same benefits are also true for flowers grown locally in season with organic methods.

What is the seasonal availability of produce?*

All Season Items Spring Specialties Summer Specialties Fall Specialties
Eggs Garlic Scapes Annual Herbs Apples
Flower bouquets Rhubarb Beans Beets
Arugula Snap Peas Beets Carrots
Collards Snow Peas Blueberries Daikon Radishes
Kale Strawberries Carrots Fennel Bulb
Lettuce Heads Cucumbers Leeks
Mizuna Fresh Garlic Pac Choi
Mustard Greens Fresh Onions Parsnips
Perennial Herbs New Potatoes Potatoes
Radishes Peppers Pumpkins
Salad Mix Tomatoes Storage Garlic
Spinach Zucchini Turnips
Swiss Chard

*  This list is neither exhaustive nor determinative of what and when members will receive particular items. There are always seasonal variabilities between years and the potential for crop failure.

Are there different share sizes?

We currently do not offer different share sizes. We recommend finding a friend to split a share if you are not interested in a full share.  And for those vegetable keeners (or simply large families) we recommend ordering two shares. However, you will always have the opportunity to add-on to your shares at the pick-up.