CSA Membership Guide

For Membership Information, you can learn more by calling Dena Aquilina at 505-470-1969 or email at shares@beneficialfarm.com

We are making a difference for farmers in our foodshed, and also in our own homes/kitchens, as we enjoy the increasingly diverse produce of the farms who contribute to the Cooperative Distribution System.

We value the suggestions and observations of all of our members, even as we acknowledge that we cannot accommodate the wishes of each individual.
The concept of the CSA is that, as members, we forgo some of our individuality in order to participate in a program that collectively creates value for farmers and other members of the community. This collectivization benefits us individually as well, but in unique and different ways than our usual experience as consumers. Thank you for adding your voices when you can, and we encourage you to continue to do so.

We would like to nurture the sense of community among those of us who are sharing the collaborative CSA experience. If you are interested in helping with organizing occasional potlucks or volunteering at the weekly food distributions, please contact us at shares@beneficialfarm.com

Below are some "Frequently Asked Questions" and answers.

MEMBERSHIP

We try never to turn away prospective members due to financial limitations. If you would like to participate in the CSA but feel that your budget is too tight, talk to us about Working Shares. Working members donate at least three hours per week, either on the farm or helping with the weekly distribution. If you come to the farm, you are likely to receive a few treats of produce items that we don't have enough of to include in the distribution.

A. Can I join the CSA at any time of year?

Yes, you can join at any time. The value of your share will be pro-rated based on the date you begin and you can pay that in full or on our payment plan. Please see "Member Accounts" section below for more information.

B. Can I split a weekly share with someone?

While we have some single people who enjoy a full share just for themselves, other members find that a whole share is too much food for them to consume on a weekly basis. In this case, some members split their share with a friend or co-worker, designating one of the parties as the "official" member for the sake of clarity in bookkeeping.

C. What if I want to join the CSA but the pick up sites and/or times do not work for me every week?

One option, pioneered by a group of Madrid and Cerrillos members, is to team with a few neighbors or co-workers who each own a CSA share, and take turns picking up the food at distributions. This means that you would have to only pick up once or twice a month (depending on the size of your team).

WEEKLY DISTRIBUTION

Communication is done primarily through email. This includes information about special handling or processing of an item in our weekly share to farm news to upcoming special order items. It is essential that you check your email regularly so that you have up-to-date information. Email is also an effective way to voice your own concerns, delights and requests of the CSA. Contact information is located at the end of this Member Guide. Our blog is also the place to find recipes and tips for preparing and cooking the wonderful food we receive at the distributions. The blog is also where you place your "vote" to the various polls as to what kinds of food or quantity of foods suits your needs the best. You can also follow daily updates on Facebook and Twitter if you use those websites. Search for Beneficial Farms to find us. On Facebook, you can search under groups.

A. How often will I be receiving a share?

There will be weekly distributions every Thursday from 12 noon to 2 PM at Kitchen Angels, located at 1222 Siler Road, Santa Fe. We offer several remote pick up sites as well in which shares can be picked up from 3 – 5 PM every Thursday. For directions, please click here.

B. What kind of food can I expect to receive at the weekly distributions?

The shares generally include stir-fry greens; an assortment of staples like salad greens, onions, carrots, squashes (summer and winter), tomatoes, and garlic; and fruits in season.

To provide diversity during the winter season, locally-produced grocery items such as honey, peanut butter, frozen chile, cheese (goat and cow), vegetarian tamales, salsa, and jams (just to name a range of possibilities) will also periodically be included in the weekly distribution. In addition, there may also be some "exotics" like lemons, grapefruit, oranges, mushrooms, avocados, ginger, etc.

C. Will eggs be available at the distribution?

Yes, eggs will be available for purchase at $4.00 per dozen. However, please be aware that hens lay fewer eggs in the cooler months and so the supply may be more limited during the winter season. The best method to ensure that you will receive eggs is to pre-pay through the special order process. See below for the details.

D. How does the weekly distribution work?

a. For those who are picking up at Kitchen Angels, Santa Fe Complex or Eldorado: When you enter the location, you will see tables with food boxes spread out across the top. Each box or food item will have a sign telling you how much of that item you are to take.

1. Please check off your name on the member list that on the clipboard located on the wood desk. This lets us know how many shares were picked up, and track if there are any members that need help remembering to come!

2. Remember to bring cloth, plastic and/or paper bags for your food. Since you will be weighing some food items, having enough bags for them all is helpful. If you have extra bags to contribute to the community, that can help those who forget or are short on bags.

3. If a box on the table is empty, look below for another box of the same item and switch them.

4. Please try to be accurate in your weights so there is plenty of food for the late-comers and for Kitchen Angels (who receive their shares at the end of distribution).

5. Eggs and occasional other items (chickens, cases of processing tomatoes, flour, etc.) are available for sale. Payment for these types of items should be made separately from your regular membership payment. See Special Order section below for more details.

b. For those who pick up at St John's College remote site: Shares will be pre-packed at Kitchen Angels and delivered to the remote site, usually no later than by 3 PM. Shares can be found inside the coolers located at the remote site.

1. Please check off your name on the member list that on the clipboard located on the wood desk. This lets us know how many shares were picked up, and track if there are any members that need help remembering to come!

2. Remember to return your cloth bag from the week before. Place the empty bag inside the cooler. These bags are collected and returned to Kitchen Angels to be used the following week. It is critical that you return the empty cloth bags; otherwise we do not have enough bags to pre-pack shares from week-to week.

3. If you have pre-paid for eggs, please look for the share that has been labeled with your name on it – the eggs will be tucked inside the bag.

4. See the Special Order section below for information as to how this work.

E. What do I do if I am going to be out of town and cannot pick up my share?

You have three options:

1. You can make arrangements to have a friend or co-worker pick up your share for you.

2. You can donate your share to Kitchen Angels, in which case there will not be a credit applied to your account.

3. You can "opt out" for the week, in which case a credit for the value of that week's distribution will be applied to your account. You must contact Pattie Ravenheart no later than the 9AM MONDAY before the distribution, preferably by email (see contact information below). See the next section as to how credits are handled.

Please contact the Distribution Coordinator to make these arrangements – see contact information below.

MEMBER ACCOUNTS

A. Do I have to pay the full amount of my share up front?

In traditional one-farm CSAs, the concept of paying in advance provides the farmer with the financial resources to purchase the seeds, labor and equipment to sow crops for future harvest. Even though this CSA is a collaborative effort with multiple farmers/producers, the concept of early payment is still applicable.
While some members are able to pay their share in full up front, many cannot. Thus, we offer an electronic payment plan. Contact Pattie Ravenheart at 505-470-1969 for details.

B. How do credits from "opting out" get applied to my account?

A spreadsheet is maintained on a weekly basis as to who "opts out" for that week as well as to who donates their share to Kitchen Angels. This information is then transferred to the appropriate member accounts.

C. How can I use my opt-out credits?

Extend your membership - adds on the number of weeks you have opted out to your current membership. For example, if you opted out of 2 weeks in January and your current membership expires at the end of April, you will receive a CSA share for the first two weeks in May.

Donate your credits- Donating your opt out credits to our scholarship fund allows us to offer reduced-price memberships to financially challenged members of our community who are interested in participating in the CSA.

Receive a refund check- A refund check can be sent to you. Please allow 1-2 weeks for processing.

SPECIAL ORDERS

From time to time, Steve will share - via email and the blog - items that can be ordered on a special order basis to CSA members. Each Friday there will be an email provided to all members with the special order items for the following week. Payment is due at the time of delivery. Due to logistics, some items may need to be picked up at Kitchen Angels.

Payment for special order items should be made on a separate check with the item being purchased written on the memo line (such as "chicken" or "flour").

CONTACT INFORMATION

For questions or concerns about items received at distribution or to request food items you would like to receive, please contact Steve Warshawer at: stevew@plateautel.net

Please contact the Distribution Coordinator at 470-1969 if you need to:

make special arrangements regarding your share due to a last-minute emergency
ask questions about your member account
"opt out" of a weekly distribution or to donate your share to Kitchen Angels

To shares recipes or tips as to how to prepare the food we receive through the CSA, please contact: blog@beneficialfarm.com

To share names of individuals, groups or organizations that may be interested in learning more about and/or joining the CSA, please email: shares@beneficialfarm.com