CSA farms struggle to deliver produce to shareholders
Drought is affecting area farmers
STOUGHTON, Wis. — Community Supported Agriculture farms first started in 1993 when too much rain plagued the CSA.
But, 19 years later, the drought is forcing some farmers to offer less than what the farm’s shareholders may be expecting.
In Stoughton, Blue Moon Community Farm is fighting to save the 40 different vegetables it grows and gives to dozens of its members, who were warned that investing in a CSA farm means sharing risk with the farmers.
There are 110 families who do their weekly shopping at Blue Moon Community Farm.
Eggplants are faring well in the heat, but Kristen Kordet, the farm’s owner, said 39 other crops are struggling.CSA farms struggle to deliver produce to shareholders
“Before this, I would have said 2005 was pretty bad, but it just pales in comparison to what we’re seeing now,” Kordet said.
Kordet said an irrigation system spread across her farm’s six acres will save the vegetables that people such as Natalie Betz invested in.
“There’s no comparison between organically, locally grown and something you might get in the grocery store,” said Betz, who works on the farm for her share.
While everyone else pays roughly $550 for 20 weeks of produce, growing conditions can affect the return on their investment.
“I’m sure there are disappointments along the way about things being late or in smaller quantity than everyone would like, but I feel there’s a pretty high level of understanding,” Kordet said.
Blue Moon is one of 50 Community Supported Agriculture farms that started in the rain-soaked year of 1993 and still exist in drought-plagued 2012.
“Most farms have given up the idea of a bountiful harvest, but they’re still holding on to the fact that we still want to deliver shares to people every week or as much as possible throughout the season,” longtime executive director Keira Mulvey said.
At Blue Moon, what Kordet can’t give shareholders now because of the drought, she hopes to make up for with the fall harvest.
Kordet doesn’t have crop insurance and doesn’t plan to get it because it costs more than what her diverse, small farm makes in profit.