Cinderblock Gardens, CSA is an idea born out of a labor of love! Over the past year and a half, my wife and I have been transitioning into a sustainable lifestyle - learning how to produce and preserve our own foods, getting away from the genetically-modified and big-agriculture diet that consumes much of our culture, and discovering how to live off of the land! We fell in love with gardening, and we wanted to take it to the next level! Starting a community supported agriculture business will help us accomplish many goals, from providing a source of income for our family, to helping us and our community become more local and sustainable.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In our first project, Urban Farm, Kickstarter backers helped us launch an heirloom seed company! Cinderblock Gardens is another piece of that puzzle: We want to grow that business within this one by saving our own seed for future garden capsules, as well as support our local community with local heart-healthy food! Although we are not certified organic, we will be growing all of our veggies and fruit (and eggs from our chickens!) according to strict organic standards. EVERY variety of vegetable, fruit, herb, etc we will be growing in our CSA garden is from heirloom, non-hybrid and non-genetically modified seed.
HOW IT WORKS
If you're new to the concept of a CSA, allow me to explain how it works! The basic concept of how community supported agriculture was born was to allow farmers to sell their produce directly to the local community, in light of big agriculture starting to take over the food industry. The local community supports the farmer by providing all of his/her upfront costs at the beginning of the season. The farmer is then free to plant, work, and harvest the land for the people, providing weekly dropoffs of fresh, local produce!
My wife and I want to do this in an urban setting, taking advantage of the quarter acre that we live on. We will be planting and harvesting multitudes of varieties of foods, ranging from various varieties of tomatoes, carrots, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale), cucumbers, summer & winter squash, pumpkins, melons, peas, beans, onions, radishes, beets, turnips, all sorts of lettuces and greens, potatoes, and much more! We will be offering traditional varieties (like beefsteak tomatoes, orange tendersweet carrots, and yellow potatoes), as well as some of the more amazing varieties (like yellow lemon tomatoes, cosmic purple carrots, and blue potatoes)! There are so many benefits to sourcing your veggies from a CSA:
1. Your veggies are absolutely as fresh as possible, most of the time being picked within mere hours of delivery!
2. Your veggies are organically-raised and locally produced - you know where they came from and the farmer who raised them (any of our members are more than welcome to stop by the farm as well)!
3. You're paying less-than the average cost of veggies in the supermarket (which are shipped here from California, and are non-organic) for organically-raised, local produce!
4. Besides the common staple veggies, you are obtaining rare and hard-to-find heirloom veggies that are sometimes impossible to find in the supermarket, and are being lost in our society as a whole!
5. You are supporting local agriculture and your local community!
Our plot of land can support anywhere from 10-12 full shares outside of our family, but since this will be our first year we are going to start on the low end (8 full shares or 16 half shares) so as to make sure there is plenty of room while we establish ourselves. We are opening up a few of those shares to our Kickstarter backers as rewards!
Our CSA shares are designed to provide for a family of 4 (for a full share), or a family of 2 (for a half share). You will obtain a weekly drop-off (or every-other week for half shares) of anywhere between 4-20lbs (10lb on average) of in-season vegetables, fruit, and herbs from our CSA micro-farm for a period of 22-23 weeks, beginning around the first weekend of May (that's almost half a year!). We want to be as green as possible, so instead of making our members come pick up their share every week, we will actually offer to drop them off at your place of residence (if you live in the Lancaster-local area). That saves you a trip, and saves the earth some gas! We will often include recipes with our drop-offs to help you learn how to cook with in-season ingredients, as well as some of our favorites that we enjoy!
WHAT WE NEED
We are very excited to have the opportunity to start a CSA, and Kickstarter will help us take care of many of the large expenses with getting started (the supplies for building the raised-bed gardens, the fences, the soil, and the transformation of our urban backyard into a sustainable powerhouse)! We already have most of our seed, and we are itching to get started! All we need is $2,500 to get everything going, and we need YOUR help! Kickstarter is all or nothing, so we need to reach 100% of our goal in order to bring this project to reality!
We hope you will help us accomplish our dream of starting a local, sustainable CSA in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania!
We want to turn this:
You can download the PDF here to see it more clearly.
Risks and challenges
The main challenges and risks we face with a CSA are the shared risks that come with farming all around the world. We will do our best to maintain our gardens, and we will take care of any problems that may arise with completely organic means. We will have measures and redundancies in place to help offset these possibilities (extra crops, companion planting, chickens, extra watering, etc). If you purchase a share with us, you accept the fact that problems out of our control may arise, and you accept the shared risk with us (if we lose our pepper crop, everyone loses - if there's a bumper crop of tomatoes, everybody gains, etc). We hope you'll help us as we dig into the earth to obtain all the bounty it offers!
We will write your name or business on a cinderblock in our CSA garden to honor your pledge to us! Every dollar counts in helping us achieve our goal of making ourselves and the community around us more sustainable and local!
Tomato & Pepper Garden Starter Pack! You'll get 5 packs of various and unique kinds of heirloom tomatoes and peppers (each with 25 seeds in them)! Tomato varieties will vary from: Roma, Beefsteak, Brandywine, Cherry, Yellow Lemon, and Great White. Pepper varieties will vary from: California Bell, Jalepeno, Serrano, Anaheim Chili, Banana, and Thai Chili. You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
Herb Garden Starter Pack! You'll get 5 packs of various heirloom kitchen herb seeds (basil, parsley, cilantro/coriander, thyme, & oregano), ready to plant! You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
A complete Urban Farm Survival Garden! Twenty-five carefully selected heirloom seed varieties sealed within a custom-made capsule that will keep the seeds viable for 10-20 years! This is a great one for those of you who missed out on our last Kickstarter project and still want to get your hands on one with no shipping cost! You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
A complete CSA package of deliciously preserved canned goods from last year's garden and local bounty! Included: 1 qt jar of diced tomatoes, 1 qt jar of the most delicious applesauce, 1 8oz jar of jelly or jam, and 1 pint of delicious sweet peach salsa or hot & spicy salsa! Very limited quantity, ALL homemade by my wife and I! You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
One half share of the Cinderblock Gardens CSA 2013 season (good for, on average, a family of 2)! You will receive a local drop off (that's right, we deliver!) of your share every other week for 22-23 weeks throughout the season. If you aren't local but still believe in our cause, you can choose to have your half share delivered to a local food bank! You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
One full share of the Cinderblock Gardens CSA 2013 season (good for, on average, a family of 4)! You will receive a local drop off (that's right, we deliver!) of your share every week for 22-23 weeks throughout the season. If you aren't local but still believe in our cause, you can choose to have your share delivered to a local food bank! You will also get your name on a cinderblock!
LIFE-LONG Donation to a local food bank! We wanted to provide this as an opportunity: For as long as our CSA exists and is operating, we will donate one half CSA share every year in your honor to a local food bank on behalf of your one-time support to help us get started. That's every-other week for 22-23 weeks per year, EVERY year, forever and ever. You help us, and we'll help others! You will also, of course, get your name on a cinderblock in our CSA garden!
LIFE-LONG Donation to a local food bank! We wanted to provide this as an opportunity: For as long as our CSA exists and is operating, we will donate one full CSA share every year in your honor to a local food bank on behalf of your one-time support to help us get started. That's 22-23 weeks per year, EVERY year, forever and ever. You help us, and we'll help others! You will also, of course, get your name on a cinderblock in our CSA garden!