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With COVID-19, Georgia farmers—and the organizations designed to support them—have had to rethink nearly every aspect of what they do with their bounty.
For now, WonderRoot is headquartered in a charmingly shabby bungalow on a gritty stretch of Memorial Drive. But never mind the urban setting; this ten-year-old community arts organization has taken a cue from farmers. Subscribers to community-supported agriculture (or CSA) programs pay growers a fee at the start of the season in exchange for baskets of locally harvested bounty. Four seasons ago, WonderRoot launched its own CSA—“community-supported art.”
Maybe you’ve considered signing up for a CSA—a weekly supply of food from a local farm—but are intimidated by the thought of all those vegetables. Or maybe you’ve never learned to cook at all. Or maybe you're just too busy to plan and shop for regular meals at home, especially if they involve trips to farmers markets. If any of those descriptions fit you, the services offered by a new local business might be just the thing to get you cooking.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is the gawky term for a feel-good undertaking: Members purchase a subscription “share” in a farm, and then at weekly pickup locations they receive boxes—or bags, or baskets—of just-harvested produce and sometimes other staples, including eggs, cheese, or meat.
Here’s one more thing about Serenbe: It’s a USDA-certified organic farm, one of just sixty-seven in the state of Georgia as of last summer, according to Georgia Organics. All together, those farms operate 5,271 certified organic acres. While that represents a mere one-twentieth of one percent of Georgia’s overall agricultural acres, it’s worth recognizing. Being certified organic is more than just promising not to spray chemical insecticide over your crops: It demands a huge commitment of time, as organic farmers must be diligent as bookkeepers in recording harvests, soil health, mulch applications, seed sourcing, you name it.
Last week I wrote about the unfortunately named “community-supported agriculture” economic model, in which customers pay upfront for a weekly share of a farm’s output throughout the growing season. It’s a great system that generates revenue for farmers when they need it most, at the beginning of the season, and provides a steady flow of good food to the subscribers.
Hey gang — I’m working on a feature spotlighting farms that participate in CSA (community supported agriculture), the programs where folks buy into farmers’ harvests and receive a weekly assortment of seasonal goodies. Georgia Organics is a great resource for learning about the four-dozen or so CSA available state-wide, but I’m curious about your specific experiences. If you have a recommendation, leave a comment or email me at BAddison@altantamag.emmis.com. Thanks!