WHAT IS A C.S.A.?
For thousands of years communities have been actively engaged with the production of their food. With the advent of modern industrial agriculture this direct connection has been broken, often to the detriment of our health and wellbeing.
Community supported agriculture is a way of reconnecting the community with the source of their food. Its about building relationships between farmers, who consciously choose supply to their local communities, and the members of the community who make a commitment to support the farmer.
CSA’s originated in the US and Europe in the 1980s and 1000‘s are now established and well respected. It is still a emerging concept in Australia.
CSA’s provide farmers with a more secure livelihood and greater recognition of their role in society, enabling them to pursue more sustainable farming methods, benefiting both the environment and the community.
WHAT DOES YOUR NAME MEAN?
We chose the name Little Feet Farm as a way to emphasising our intention to tread lightly in our farming endeavours. Our intention is to minimise our environmental footprint and live harmoniously within our beautiful environment. As such our farm is a whole lifestyle approach, powered by 100% solar energy, spring-fed water and we are proud to be advocates of a sustainable life.
HOW DO YOU GROW YOUR VEGGIES?
When we commenced Little Feet Farm in 2006 our driving ambition was to grow food in a natural way with minimal impact on the environment, free of chemicals and high in nutrition that promotes good health. This is still our ambition.
To achieve this we have developed a growing system that works with nature, understanding our seasons and climate. Our main focus is nurturing and improving the soil. We believe if we have the healthiest soil possible the plants will grow themselves and be healthy and nutrient dense. We achieve this by careful tillage, diverse crop and animal rotations, green manure crops, compost and compost tea’s, organic certified fertilizers, mineral supplements such as ground rock dust, seaweeds, and limestone and mulching. In the future we plan to start making and introducing our own bio-fertilizers and biochar. We monitor the soil health with regular soil tests. We also keep bees to assist with pollination.
In addition to this we grow non-hybrid heirloom varieties of vegetables, growing all our own seedlings so as to maintain quality throughout. These emphasize flavour and nutrition over appearance, transportability and shelf life; the main requirements of todays mass produced conventional hybrid vegetables. As such our veggies may not look as cosmetically perfect as others, but they will always taste great and be full of goodness. We also collect and save many of our own seeds.
All these practices lend themselves to small scale growing, We have an attention to detail that is hard to replicate and often lacking in larger scale agriculture be it organic or conventional. The downside to being small is that we are less mechanized and have higher labour inputs, and as such can not compete with the economies of scale of larger farms- meaning our vegetables cost more to produce. We think its worth it to have more nutritious food, we would like you to think its worth it as well.
ARE YOU CERTIFIED ORGANIC?
The answer is no. We have never felt the need to be certified. We believe the organic standard for certification is just the starting point to growing healthy soil and food and not the end point. As such we believe that at Little Feet Farm we exceed the minimum practices of many organic farms especially the larger ones, and are aiming to go “beyond organic” standards.
Also as we have always supplied our veggies locally and welcome our members to visit our farm and learn about how we grow food for them, this is a far more transparent arrangement than having a inspector visit a farm once a year and certify it as organic.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM OTHER VEGGIE BOX SCHEMES AND FARMS?
In recent years there has been a proliferation of direct-to-the-public box schemes. Most of these have no direct connection to the farmer and are simply sourced from the wholesale market, repackaged and distributed. With us your are directly connected and supporting the farmer who grows your food, enabling us to make a livelihood from our passion and continue to this into the future. You are also minimising your food miles and the maximising the freshness of your food.
CAN I CHOOSE WHAT VEGGIES I GET?
No. Our boxes are filled with freshly harvested produce that varies on a seasonal basis. We aim to have at least 10 different varieties each week and 30 different varieties through out the year. All produce is harvest on the day of delivery where possible.
As we plant up to 4 months in advance of harvesting, it would be impossible for us to predict what peoples individual choices are, and trying to cater to that would lead to increase wastage.
By growing a large range of vegetables it allows us to develop diverse crop rotations improving the health of the soil and minimising the risk of crop failures.
It also gives us the chance to surprise our members, by introducing them to new and different veggies each week.
Our range for for 2015 will include beetroot, beans, carrots, salad greens, cucumbers tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini’s, potatoes, pumpkin, snow peas, basil, parsley, coriander, dill, wong bok, spring onions, onions, garlic, leeks, silverbeet, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, celeriac, spinach and fennel.
DO YOU DELIVER?
Our model for delivery is to establish pick up hubs. We will seek willing members who may have a shady space such as a carport or shed to host one of theses hubs where we will deliver boxes by a set time in the afternoon. Members are then able to come pick up their after that.
Our delivery days are Tuesdays and Fridays and we will continue to have pick up from Little Yarra Steiner School and aim to establish hubs in Yarra Junction, Warburton and elsewhere as needed. Alternatively boxes can be picked up from the farm.
HOW DO I PAY?
We have a range of payment options. Traditionally CSA’s ask for full payment in advance at the start of the season, when farmers incur their greatest expenses. This is a members commitment to support the farmer. This also enables farmers to gauge quantities for planting based on secure demand, and the peace of mind that accompanies this.
The full 2018 season will cost $1200 for 30 weeks, averaging $40 a week, for a large family box.
We ask that those who are able to prepay the full amount to consider this option and receive a 5% discount.
For those who are not able, we ask for a $200 deposit paid by 31st December 2017, then 5 installments of $200 by the end of January, February, March, April and May 2018.
Payments can be made by direct deposit, cheque or cash in person.
We have a maximum capacity of 60 boxes per week and anticipate these being reserved by the end of the year.To reserve a box simply email us and we will provide our banking details and on receiving your deposit will reserve a box for you.
WHAT IF I GO AWAY ON HOLIDAY?
Integral to CSA’s is a commitment to support the farm throughout the season. As such we ask you to consider finding a friend or family member who would make good use of the box in the weeks you are away. Our produce continues to need harvesting regardless of holidays.
CAN I COME AND VISIT THE FARM?
Yes we love visitors and encourage you to come and experience where your food is grown. For those who would like to be more involved, and get their hands dirty occasionally we are very happy for volunteers to come and get involved on harvest days or with general tasks. Time permitting, we hope to have an open day at some point in the season.