We are seeking support to pilot a subsidized Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA program through farms in New York's Hudson Valley. CSA is a model of seasonal food production and distribution that brings farmers and customers into a relationship. CSA members purchase a “share” of a farm’s annual harvest up front, helping the farm establish a solid financial foundation for the season. As a member, community customers receive a regular selection of freshly harvested food, picking up their share at the farm itself or another designated location. Although this is a great model for both farmers and customers, the relatively high upfront cost of a CSA share can prevent many low income families from participating.
Consequently, the goal of this proposed project is to make CSA shares more affordable for low-income households in Hudson Valley counties through direct subsidies. This would be a first of its kind project in our region and has the potential to reach 200 food insecure families (approx. 800 individuals). The funds would largely be used for direct subsidies to self-identified low-income CSA customers, thereby increasing their consumption of farm fresh food, and diversifying the customer base of CSA farms in our region. The remainder of the funds would be used to support staff and partner time to plan, develop, implement and evaluate the project and support the continued development of the Coalition, including an exploration of different methods for further reducing barriers to CSA enrollment for the food insecure.