Gator Community Supported Agriculture

In fall 2010, the Office of Sustainability launched the Gator Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The program hosted four farms, and has been a successful way to engage the campus community on food sustainability as well as to provide a convenient way to acquire local produce.

The program returns for the 2013-2014 growing season and will have three farms back with us to be a part of this year’s Gator CSA. We will have one pick-up location options on Thursdays (see maps below). From 4:30-6:00 PM, the farmers will be back on the west side of the all-decal lot, off Bledsoe Drive (near Maguire Village Housing and the SW Rec Center and Fields). PLEASE NOTE: There will NOT be a pick-up location at the Academic Research Building off Center Drive this season.

Please read this FULL page carefully before you consider joining one of the farms.

About Community Supported Agriculture
In a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, local consumers become farm members by paying a given amount of money at the beginning of the season, either as a lump sum or as installments. The cost depends on the length of the season and the variety and quantity of products provided. The up-front payment helps buy the seed and other inputs necessary for the season, gives the farmer immediate income and in many cases eliminates the need for operating loans. By committing to a price and paying at the beginning of the season, the members support the costs of production up front, as well as share in bounty and risks of the harvest. CSAs decrease the need for ongoing marketing by the producer. This allows the farmer to concentrate on land stewardship and growing good food.

In return for your membership and commitment, farmers provide fresh vegetables, fruits, and other farm products directly to consumer-members. Vegetables and fruits are available throughout the growing season, and a variety of other farm products may be distributed at different times throughout the year. As a consumer-member, you eat healthy food, know where it comes from and how it is grown, and share a connection to the land with the farmers who feed you.

For the Gator CSA, the season will run for approximately 32-36 weeks, from mid-October to June, depending on the farm you choose.  Some farmers will choose to alter their seasons to accommodate weather and/or holidays, so ask for specifics directly from the farm you choose. Pick-up will be on Thursdays on campus:

  • 4:30 – 6:00pm – The all-decal parking lot off Bledsoe Drive, near SW Recreation Center – view map

How to Join
There are limited spots available (~300 collective total) and the demand is high. Last year, almost all spots were filled. Once you read through the material and decide you want to join, act fast! You sign up for your CSA membership directly with the farmer. Some farmers are ready now and some will start taking memberships a bit later, but will put you on a list to receive notification when they are ready.  If you have any questions about their sign-up process, their farming practices, or their memberships, please direct the questions directly to the farm. If you have a question about the logistics or a general CSA question, we may be able to answer it for you.

Participating Farms
Swallowtail Farm, Farmer: Noah Shitama - All the information about this farm and their CSA is on their website: http://swallowtailcsa.com. You can pay with a credit card online or by check. You should make contact with the farmer to ensure he has space in his CSA before mailing a check. If you have any questions about this membership, please e-mail noah@swallowtailfarm.com or call 352-327-1175.

The Family Garden Organic Farm, Farmer: Jordan Brown – To sign-up for this farm or get information visit their website at www.thefamilygardencsa.com. You can pay with a credit card online or by check. You should make contact with the farmer to ensure he has space in his CSA before mailing a check. If you have any questions about this membership, please e-mail jabrown@ufl.edu

Frog Song Organics – All the information about this farm and their CSA is on their website: http://frogsongorganics.com. You can sign up by online. Checks and credit cards accepted. If you have any questions about this membership, please email Amy at FrogSongOrganics@gmail.com or call (352) 468-3816.

Things to note about the UF CSA

  • All farmers participating in the CSA program must grow their own food on a farm within 250 miles of UF. If a farmer wishes to add a value-added product or a supplemental product from another local farm (also from within 250 miles), it too must meet all food safety rules for human consumption.
  • Over the course of the season, weekly shares vary in size and produce type, reflecting the local growing season and conditions. Typical CSAs offer an average of 4-6 items of produce per week over the course of the season. For each item in the weekly share, you will receive a measure usually similar to the measure of an item you would get in the grocery store (ex. a bag of lettuces, a lb of squash, etc).
  • CSA members provide feedback to the farmer about likes and dislikes regarding produce when they sign up in order to help the farmer with a planting plan. However, CSA members do not get to pick the variety that goes into their basket on a given week. The farmers participating in the UF CSA are committed to providing a diversity of products; however, the products will depend on the growing season, weather conditions, and what can be grown in North Florida (for ideas of what grows and when in North FL, see this document – http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021).
  • CSA members will receive a share of food each week, and are expected to pick it up. If you can’t make it, you should let your farmer know ahead of time so he/she can make other arrangements. If you do not need a weekly share, you could consider sharing with a friend or colleague and rotating weeks or purchasing a half-share if they are offered. You cannot miss a week and come the following week expecting to receive both shares, and you are not able to get a refund for weeks not used as the farmer has planned and planted and tended his farm with you in mind. Food not collected will be returned to the farm or donated to the St. Francis House to be used in meals for the homeless.
  • UF is providing some coordination and communication as well as physical locations for pick-up to facilitate participation in community supported agriculture by UF staff, faculty and students. UF is not involved in the contractual arrangement/relationship between you and the farmer. If you have questions about payment, logistics, or your food, you should direct them directly to your farmer.
  • All food supplied by the farmers is required to meet all codes and regulations set forth by the USDA, Florida Department of Agriculture, Health Department, and other local government agencies. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us at info@sustainability.ufl.edu.