Community-Supported Agriculture, or CSA, refers to a model of farming in which farmers sell shares of the harvest directly to people in the local community. CSA represents a shared commitment—shareholders commit to the farm for the season, providing farmers with a secure customer base, and farmers commit to doing their utmost to provide their shareholders with an ample supply of high quality, nutritious food.
This direct connection between farmer and consumers bypasses middlemen, e.g., marketers and long distance shippers. It benefits the farmer by increasing farm revenue in the pre-season when many expenditures take place, benefits the environment by decreasing packaging and pollution, and benefits consumers by providing fresh, high-quality produce at competitive prices.
The Green Earth Institute uses the community supported agriculture, or CSA, approach as the primary way we sell the produce we grow at our farm. Through our CSA, community people purchase a "share" of the anticipated harvest and make payment in advance at an agreed price. In exchange, the farmers plant, cultivate, harvest, wash and distribute a bountiful selection of vegetables and herbs. In short, the farmers and members become partners in the production, distribution and consumption of locally grown food.
We lease 49 acres of farm land at the McDonald Farm, owned by The Conservation Foundation, on the south side of Naperville, where we grow over 45 different vegetable and herb crops, all USDA certified organic.
The 2017 season is the 15th year of our very popular CSA program.
The table at the right lists the vegetables and herbs that we plant each year. As they mature and come up for harvest, there are about 8-10 different crops each week in the CSA share box. The list of contents changes through the year, based on which ones are ready to be harvested.
We offer two alternative share sizes—Standard Size and Personal Size, and both are available either weekly or biweekly (every other week).
The Standard Size share is about ¾ bushel, which is equivalent to 1½ regular paper grocery sacks. One Standard Size weekly share is generally suitable for two vegetable enthusiasts or a family of two adults and two children.
Again in 2017 we are offering the Personal Size share, in response to requests from some members with small households. The Personal Size share is about ½ bushel, which is equivalent to 1 regular paper grocery sack.
If you are concerned that a quantity will be too much for you, consider biweekly pickup instead of weekly, or split a weekly box with a neighbor.
Early on, the first box or two of the Main Season is lighter, providing mainly leafy greens and salad vegetables, with a Standard Size box typically weighing 5-7 pounds. The vegetable volume and weight increase quickly as more crops mature. In late summer and fall, 15-25 or more pounds of produce may be expected in a Main Season Standard Size box.
We strive to provide an appealing and ample supply of vegetables each week, but since nature has no guarantees we cannot offer any either. You will be experiencing the ups and downs of vegetable farming: if a crop is plentiful this year, you'll receive lots of it; conversely, if the "pickins" are slim, that will be reflected in your share.
Harvests for our Main Season Shares run for 20 weeks, from June 13 to October 27. The lengthy vegetable list above applies to the Main Season Shares.
A limited number of Spring Shares are also available, for 4 weeks May 16 to June 7. The harvest is comprised of tender spring delicacies grown in our greenhouse, including salad mix, bok choi, arugula, baby turnips, baby chard, spinach, head lettuce, radishes, and more. NOTE: SPRING CSA SHARES ARE SOLD OUT.
Late Fall Shares are available in limited numbers for the four weeks October 31 to November 22. Included are salad greens and spinach; cooking greens such as kale and Swiss chard; broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and possibly other brassicas; root crops of carrots, beets, rutabagas, and turnips; winter squash such as butternut and pie pumpkins; potatoes, onions and garlic.
Most of our CSA shareholders pick up their vegetables at the farm in Naperville, but we also offer pickup sites in Lombard, Western Springs, and Winfield. Below are the choices of locations and times.
The farm pickup choices are Tuesdays or Fridays. Our experience is that Tuesdays are more crowded, so if it's all the same to you, please consider signing up for Fridays.
When placing your Green Earth CSA order you will have several choices so you may specify what works best for you. Our online ordering process lets you easily pick your options in these 5 categories:
Note: We will not deposit the postdated installment checks until their dates.
If paying by check, your CSA sign-up will not be complete until we receive your payment and send you a confirmation. The mailing address for your check(s):
To current CSA members:
To new CSA members joining for the first time:
Complete program details are on the Additional Information page.
*** Green Earth Institute, 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565-5447 | Phone: 630-664-5681 ***
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