Root Radical Community Shared Agriculture (CSA): Fresh, local, seasonal produce from the Kingston area

harvest celebration 2008




Community Shared Agriculture

The term ‘community supported agriculture’ was coined in the late 1980s when the first CSA farm was created in Massachusetts. Farmers, Robyn Van En and Jan VanderTuin were inspired by similar arrangements employed by farms in Europe and envisioned this model as a way for eaters to participate directly in the growing of their food by making a pre-season commitment to a particular farm. In exchange for investing in the CSA, each eater would receive a weekly share of the harvest. Since then, the CSA idea has been extremely successful and has taken many forms in North America and around the world.

Prior to the creation of the first North American CSAs, a similar model called 'teikei' (meaning food with a face) was initiated in Japan. In the 1950s and 60s in Japan, agricultural policy shifted from small-scale, self-reliant farms to increasing industrialization and reliance on chemical inputs. In the early 1970s, as a reaction to these trends, Japanese eaters, concerned about food safety and deterioration of communities, began to organize consumer co-operatives and sought out farmers to supply them directly with organic food.

Root Radical CSA was initiated in fall 2006 with our first growing season in 2007. We grow an assortment of organic vegetables in our 2 acre outdoor garden and in our 2300 square foot greenhouse. From June until October, we supply produce to approximately 150 households in Kingston and a handful on Howe Island. We grow greens in our unheated greenhouse year round.

For more information about membership follow this link.

Mid june share

photo credit: Sara Emery

Guiding Principles

Participatory food justice: Beyond simply supporting a local farmer! We believe that farmers and eaters are partners in building a local, healthy, sustainable food system. The CSA model is about all of us getting involved in the production of – and decision making about – our food. If there is a problem with the way our food is being grown, then eaters and farmers alike must work together to improve the situation. Through CSA we reclaim control of the food system and together work towards actualizing our hopes and dreams.

Sane ecology: If we expect to eat well in the future, we must act appropriately now and care for the land that feeds us. That means not just eliminating the use of biocides but also building the soil in the garden and providing sufficient wild spaces for beneficial organisms.

Away from oil dependence: Energy costs will continue to rise as demand permanently outstrips supply in the future. Meanwhile we can see that fossil fuel use has terrible effects on air quality and climate change. We aim to use as little fossil fuel energy as possible and we invite our members to work with us to develop a long term plan for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Needs based and open accounting: Our share price is calculated based on a budget that includes all costs of production. While striving to maintain optimal share value for our members, we aim to also include all the social and environmental costs in our price. The budget and other financial statements are shared with the members each winter.