Building The Local Healthy Food Structure

Building the local food infrastructure

by Olga Bonfiglio

Connecting food to the local economy can provide more people with greater access to local foods. Making it happen is another story since the necessary infrastructure was gradually dismantled over the past 70 years in favor of a national/global food system that promises low prices, year-round accessibility of products and convenience.

A food system involves all the steps from “farm to fork” including production, processing, packaging, marketing, sales and distribution.  A handful of corporations now largely runs this system, but people in communities all over the country remain undaunted in their attempt to build their own local food system.

Small, local farmers are anxious to supply their communities with fresh food, but they run into several problems.

The pressures of creeping development and low commodity prices have plagued farmers over the past 40 years and sent a lot of them out of business.  Today, less than two percent of the U.S. workforce are farmers on 2 million farms compared to 30 percent during the mid-1930s when there was a peak of close to 7 million farms……….


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A New Way to Invest, Digest and Localize ~ CSA

Even if we buy certified organic or fair trade marked products it is still very hard to avoid long and large retail chains which contribute to the pressure to industrialise and exploit human and non-human alike somewhere along the line. The idea of fair trade products in a supermarket is somewhat of a contradiction in terms, as is buying organic from Argentina…… Yet most local production succumbed to the pressure to industrialise and exploit human and non-human alike a long time ago. Local production round my way is largely involved in defense (an offensive misnomer!) and the arms trade…..

How can we combine local, fair or ethical, and organic together in a way that at least has half a chance of caring more for human and non-human alike?

One set of possibilities (albeit limited possibilities) lie in Community Supprted Agriculture (CSA) schemes. There are a number of CSAs popping up around the country at the moment, and a few that have been around for a decade or more, so it is arelatively new phenomenon in this country. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which can be a bit confusing at times (even misleading) but that is true of anything with genuine community involvement; they take on a life of their own that isn’t restricted to anyones’ definitions. What most of them have in common is the practice of “farming with a face”; that is there is a direct relationship between the community members, the farmer/grower(s) and the land – middle men/machines and long distances are removed from the food chain!

A second common principle is that of “shared risk, shared harvest”, which again can be worked out in a number of ways. One of the ways of doing this involves a simple switch in what members are paying for, it offers a different way to spend.

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Marin CSA 2012 Terms and Costs

Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food ~ Hippocrates ~

Our goals are threefold for you and your family:

1. To provide to you and your family, the healthiest, most nutritious, in season, almost local food you can get anywhere.  Period!

2. Work together to practice zero food waste by utilizing and redistributing all excess food and food waste.

3. Offer self empowering services and farm products to assist  you towards Self Sufficient homestead living and healthier family and environment.

Our Benefits we derive are threefold as well:

1. Provide income to support our local farms and family.

2. Target zero food waste to support community food banks and soup kitchens and provide compost for next years garden fertilizer.

3.  Provide healthy long term soil and land practices so that future generations can have quality land to work and Nature can thrive in abundance.


How it will work:

One or two homes in a central location of Marin will be the central drop off for food by noon each Saturday.    Members will pick up CUF food baskets each Saturday between 12 -5 p.m. or call to make other arrangements.

You will have two food baskets which will be rotated each week.  One will have your new farm food  and the other will be brought back from your home.  In addition two 5 gallon will be exchanged each week containing excess food and/or compost from your organic waste.

Each week you will pick up one food basket and bucket and return the others from the previous week.  We will deliver any excess food to the food banks and soup kitchens and also compost the food waste and use in our gardens again next year as high quality, bringing it home, fertilizer.

Each member will be required to volunteer one  Saturday to help distribute bulk food from farms into member share food baskets.  We also highly encourage that members and their family come visit the farms to truly learn the source of their food and how their food is grown.


What Adjustments you will need to make as the food starts coming

(see ‘CSA Questions with Answers’)


Cost of Shares

We are limiting membership shares to 15 family and 5 individuals.   A membership share will run from Mid-May through the end of October 2012.  Please see Food basket delivery schedule to see when and what you will be getting.

(We will also offer limited shares in eggs, meat and milk, see “other Products)

Family Share: The cost of a family share will be $ 748. for 22 weeks of once per week delivery food basket.  This works out to $35/week.

Single Shares:  The cost of a single share will be $ 376. for 22 weeks or $ 17.50/week.

* Single shares will feed two.  Family share will easily feed family of four.

** If there is food you do not eat/want, we can redistribute/donate, but share price remains the same.

*** There will be a $ 25 refundable fee for food baskets and refunded at end of year if baskets are in good reusable shape.

Payment:  A 25% deposit is required to hold a share and the balance by July 1, 2012. However other arrangements can be made.

Delivery beginning Saturday, May 19, 2012 to October 22, 2012.

Missed Pickups: If there is a week when you will be unable to pick up your produce at the scheduled time, please contact me to make other arrangements. Any produce that is not picked up by Sunday a.m without notice given will be passed on to someone in need. Please respect the folks who are offering their places for delivery and pick up your produce as soon as possible. If someone else is going to pick up your vegetables, please let me know who they are and their contact information and be sure they thoroughly understand the procedures and timing. Thanx.

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CUF Food Basket Delivery Schedule


One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive.” Hieroglyph found in ancient Egyptian tomb.

(Please note these are estimated delivery dates…Nature, as always, bats last!)

May:   Soil is warmin’. baby’s-a- growin’.   Weekly Salad Greens/Spinach, Swiss Chard,Snow & Snap Peas, Kale, Mustard, Leeks, Radish, Beets, Arugula, Assorted Herbs,

June: Gardens come alive, Sun is on High.   Weekly Greens/Spinach, assorted herbs, peas, Swiss Chard    Bi-weekly:  Kale, radish, leeks, beets, carrots, broccoli, cabbage.

July:   Here come the Fruits:   Weekly: Basil, assorted herbs, variety lettuce, basil, cucumber, summer squash       Bi-weekly:  Beets, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, garlic, potatoes, Chinese & green string beans, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes,  pears, early apples, blackberry’s, cherry plums & strawberry’s.

August & SeptemberClear the Fridge:    Basil, herbs, cucumbers,  tomatoes (cherry, heirloom, roma) Chinese & green string beans,  summer squash.  Bi-weekly: broccoli, carrots, corn, onions, radish, garlic, cantaloupe, hot & sweet peppers, potatoes, watermelon.  Apples, pears – (aug. only).

OctoberHarvest Moon:  Lettuce/Spinach, Kale.  Bi weekly:  beets, cucumber,  radish, tomatoes, string beans, summer & winter squash, hot peppers, apples.  One Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin.


Also available on limited basis (email or call for terms and amounts) :

Farm Fresh Egg shares

Raw Milk  shares

Pork, Steer meat shares


Additional Farm Products for direct sale.

  1. Flower Bouquets
  2. Apple sauce, syrup & cider (Sept./Oct.)
  3. Gourmet Popcorn (Oct.)
  4. Seaweed, variety.
  5. Pesto, tomato Sauces (Sep./Oct.)
  6. Salsa’s (Sept./Oct.)
  7. Garlic Pickles (Aug. – Sep.)
  8. Garlic  rope twists (Aug.)
  9. Jams/Jellies (July-Sept.)
  10. Lavender Sticks (July – Sept.)
  11. Non-toxic home cleaners
  12. Luffa bath sponges (Oct.)
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Common Unity Farms CSA for Marin County; Summer/Fall Season 2012

“The Doctor of the future will no longer treat the human body with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent dis-ease through nutrition.”  ~ Thomas Edison ~




Greetings Potential CSA Families,

We are initiating a new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model to provide for you and your family the most healthy, nutritious in season produce, fruit and farm products  to the Marin County and limited surrounding areas at affordable prices.

We believe in the dual philosophy’s of ‘Do No Harm’ and “You Are What You Eat’ as a way of Life.  We believe all should have access to healthy food from known sources at affordable prices, whereby the small organic farmer can still make a living.

Did you know that less than 2% of the jobs in this country are farming related and less then 4% of farming in the U.S. is organic?  This means that we are critically dependent on foreign sources for our food supplies where regulation as to how the good is grown and what is added chemically is highly questionable.

We are committed to developing new currencies of healthy food distribution to suburban and urban communities, who in turn fully support  local family farms.  By dealing direct we can keep food costs down and make organic small scale food production profitable.

Another goal is to  provide models for a zero waste food redistribution community network.  Currently over 50% of food that can be eaten gets thrown ‘away’.  By closing the waste loop we can assist those in need of food with healthy food we normally would throw ‘away’.

By combining local organic farms we can provide a greater range of quality products as well as insure for abundant food baskets each week.  Each Saturday, from mid-May until the end of October 2012, we will deliver the farm fresh food to one or two central locations. You will then meet there to pick up your farm fresh food baskets.

We will also have over the course of the growing season farm products such as jams, pesto, tomato sauces, gourmet popcorn, seaweed and meats. Over time we hope to include more Mendocino local products in the mix., thereby supporting more of our local producers.

Members will be asked to also compost their waste as well as volunteer to assist in the food distribution allocations a few times over the 22 week period.  We will also be collecting any excess foods to redistribute to your and our local food banks and soup kitchens.

We use permaculture, organic and biodynamic soil and farm practices.  Our seeds will never contain Genetically Modified technology, nor do we use any chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides.  EVER!

Terms of membership, seasonal food produce dates and estimated quantities will be made available shortly.  Memberships will be limited to 15 families and 5 individual memberships.  Members will be required to visit the farms in Anderson Valley to truly know and learn as to the source and growing practices of the produce and fruit in their food baskets.

With your membership you will also receive a free consultation as to the possibilities of growing your own food and poultry, rain water home harvesting and other means towards a self-sufficient lifestyle.  Look what this one family has done to their home in Pasadena to homestead their lands. here

To our common unity in health, well-being and balance with Nature,

Tim, Jamie & Juan

“We believe that a community-based (rather than market-based) farm has the greatest potential to create a new, more conscious awareness of our food/economic system and is the key to the future. To provide the basis for a truly sustainable and viable agriculture we have to change the bottom line from individual to community interest.  It is about sustaining our farms through the power of relationship and community and transforming our economic life so that it brings compassion, support, and neighborhood into our lives.”  ~ Live Power Community Farm ~

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