I was riding the bus home last night in Washington D.C. and rode past a weird looking school bus. It was "tricked- out" in all different colors and had the words "Farm to Family" on the side. I went home and checked out the phrase and found out that it is a Richmond, VA based organization. They are a local mobile food distribution business, a business that connects local farms with communities with the hopes of re-opening the relationship between locally grown foods and encouraging a local diet of fresh grown produce from central Virginia. Customers of the farm to family school bus walk on a bus that has been gutted out and refurbished with shelving that resembles old grocery market shelving and on top of those shelves are fresh vegetables and fruits laid out to be picked.
The Farm to Family School Bus
The reason I saw the bus on Washington, D.C. streets was because "Farm to Family" was beginning their Farm to Family D.C. Winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at the beginning of January 2011. A CSA is a member-based farm share model that lasts anywhere from 8 - 12 weeks and offers members a weekly or bi-weekly share of a farm's produce. There are hundreds of CSAs offered by farms all over the country and each CSA can vary depending on the farmer. The main point of the CSA is to allow the community member/customer to take on some of the risks and benefits of growing food along with the farmer since the CSA member usually pays for their share before the growing season. In exchange for your money and support, you receive fresh and local produce, meat, and/or eggs every week or two weeks. Some CSAs also offer "you pick" days, farm visits, and work share programs. CSA memberships usually fill up fast before the beginning of the planting season so be sure to find a CSA near you and sign up fast.