As I mentioned last week, subscriptions to TFF’s CSA have soared with the shelter in place orders related to the coronavirus. Although many of these are subscribers who re-activated old accounts, we have never added so many additional box deliveries in such a short period of time. Our CSA Coordinator Alicia has seen a big jump in her work and we are asking new folks to be patient about email response time. Alicia also wanted me to remind everyone that our website has a FAQ section, and that your subscriber account on Farmigo to make payments and changes to your subscription. You can also use it to access our web store where we offer additional items for delivery along with your CSA box. All of those links can be found on the side-bar just below the Newsletter Archive.
If you are a new or returning subscriber, you should know that the reason Terra Firma’s CSA still exists is because of existing members. Over the last ten years, our farm and others have seen participation in our CSA drop by 50%. Several farms around the Bay Area have shut their CSAs down completely. We have been able to keep ours going because of strong long-term support from a core group of people who have maintained their commitment.
Prior to March 15th, 2020, it had become extremely easy and convenient to get the organic produce of your choice, delivered right to your door. Small farms and CSAs like ours could not compete with the well-funded and heavily marketed alternatives. Unlike them, we require a commitment from our customers, a minimum of one month subscription.
As I mentioned last week, we are honored that you have chosen us to provide you with fresh produce during this difficult time. But we also are changing our plans in real-time, adjusting our plantings to handle more subscribers. There is a three-month lag time between putting seeds or plants in the ground and harvesting the crop. If Covid 19 disappears by July 1st, as we all hope it will, will our new subscribers stick around to share in the increased harvest?
During this time when so many people sick and so many other are stuck at home, I think I speak for everyone here at Terra Firma that I feel privileged to be able to stay busy and employed, working outdoors to provide the essential service of growing food. But we want to be sure that our extra effort is not wasted.
In the world before Covid 19, joining a CSA might have been considered as a decision to give up choices and even to make a “sacrifice” in order to support a small farm. Now, we hope you consider it a privilege. And I would ask that everyone who signed up for our CSA in the last two weeks make a commitment to sticking with our farm through the end of August. Because that is the time commitment we are making to you right now.