What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
A CSA offers the opportunity to challenge the current food system—food that is processed, packaged, synthetically fertilized, shipped across distances, and sometimes genetically modified. A CSA allows us to buy and eat food that was grown by a locally based farmer, minimally-packaged, and is grown in ways that support the health of the planet.
To join a CSA individuals or families commit in advance to buy (mostly organic) produce from a local farm over the growing season. The members’ advance payment helps to support the farmer's season start up costs, which are usually significant. In return, produce is delivered once a week to a central pick-up location, where members rotate as volunteers to set it out for pickup. Produce that is left-over is usually given to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
A CSA is a small-scale but effective way to confront some of the global challenges of pollution, land degradation and poor nutrition. And by their nature, CSAs are platforms for strengthening community and for volunteer leadership development.
What makes Tuv Ha'Aretz a Jewish CSA?
Tuv Ha'Aretz is a national CSA program through Hazon, a Jewish environmental organization. Tuv Ha’Aretz follows the traditional CSA structure with regards to weekly vegetable delivery and a strong commitment to supporting local agriculture. And like other CSAs, Tuv Ha'Aretz works to build community and educate its members about food, nourishment, and small-scale organic agriculture.
What makes Tuv Ha'Aretz different is that it is a CSA that incorporates Jewish teachings and values into its program. The intersection of Judaism and contemporary food issues provides an exciting opportunity for learning and growth. Through Tuv Ha'Aretz members can expand their understanding of what it means for food to be kosher – food that is not only “fit” for us, but “fit” for the Earth.
What does the name Tuv Ha'Aretz mean?
The name Tuv Ha'Aretz suggests a double meaning: Tuv Ha'Aretz is both good for the land and the best of the land: good for the land because it encourages and supports small organic farmers who grow their crops using non-destructive methods on agricultural land near the city that would otherwise be threatened with development, andgood of the land because the produce--often picked the morning of or the day prior to delivery!--is fresh, green, sweet, pesticide and chemical free, healthy, beautiful and delicious.
Do you have to be a member of Forest Hills Jewish Center to join? If I'm not Jewish, can I participate in Tuv Ha'Aretz?
Tuv Ha’Aretz is open to the entire community. Though there is a small administrative fee for non-synagogue members, anyone can join. Tuv Ha'Aretz warmly welcomes both Jewish and non-Jewish members.
How do the prices of CSA, supermarkets and health-food stores compare?
One question that consistently comes up among new CSA members is, “well, is it a good deal?” In some respects, this is not the best question to ask, because purchasing a CSA share is about so much more than saving money. It's also about supporting and enabling a local family farmer, feeding yourself and family pesticide-free food, and making food choices that help change the world. But on the other hand, how could the question not come up? Tuv Ha'Aretz member at Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side, Rande Bryzelak took the share lists from three different distribution weeks, and priced out the equivalent produce at Fresh Direct, The Food Emporium, and Fairway Market in New York City. The results he found were that the weekly price of Tuv Ha'Aretz cost less than comparable vegetables at the other supermarkets, which ranged from $24-$33 for the equivalent produce.
Where will our produce come from?
Norwich Meadows Farm is a 200 acre organic farm based in Norwich, NY near Binghamton. They are extraordinarily committed to the environment, growing without the use of harsh chemicals and using natural fertilizers such as kelp to enrich their soil. Their incredible assortment of produce not only satisfies the taste buds of NY's finest chefs, but also those of the farmers themselves. There is nothing they sell that they wouldn't be extremely excited to cook with.
What are some sample vegetables we may receive?
The farm offers a wide variety of certified organic vegetables including : Onions, Scallions, Garlic, Leeks, Artichoke, Beets, Carrots, Celery, Celery Root, Fennel, Arugula, Collards, Kale, Chard, Broccoli, Dandelion, Mustard, Pac Choi, Purslane, Spinach, Herbs, Kohlrabi, Microgreens, Pea Shoots, Lettuce, Okra, Parsley Root, Potatoes, Radicchio, Radish, Sunchokes, Turnips, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Eggplant, Tomato, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Brussels Sprouts, Peas, String Beans, Shelling Beans, Edamame, Fava Beans, Sweet Pepper, Hot Pepper, Melon, Ginger, Turmeric and more
What are the dates of the CSA?
The 2021 season will be 22 weeks long, from June through November.
When and where can I pick up my share? (Covid-19 update)
Due to social distancing, our pickup location will be outdoors (a member’s backyard) until such time as the Forest Hills Jewish Center can reopen. Her home is close to Queens Blvd, and very close to FHJC. The first week of June, we’ll send the address to everyone who signs up.
At the Jewish Center, pick ups are from 5:30-7:30 pm. During the time period of outdoor pickups, we will need to pick up shares midday. Please email us if the earlier time presents a problem for you and we will work something out.
Forest Hills Jewish Center (Room M4) ? between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm on Wednesdays from June through November. If you cannot pick up your share, you may arrange for someone to pick it up for you. If that is not possible, your share will be donated to a charity and, new this season, you can with advance notice request to postpone your pick up to another week.
Is volunteering for the CSA required? Covid-19 update - we have not worked out details about volunteering yet)
Yes, your membership in this volunteer-run organization requires you to volunteer for a minimum of 1 shift. Shifts are on Wednesdays from 4:45pm to 8:15pm during the Tuv Ha’Aretz season. Volunteering consists of setting up the pickup and distributing the boxes to the members. There are other volunteer options as well.
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