The Robyn Van En Center for Community Supported Agriculture
by Elizabeth Henderson
The GVOCSA Core has made a contribution of $300 from membership fees to support the work of the Robyn Van En Center for Community Supported Agriculture Resources. Those of you who have seen my book, Sharing the Harvest, will recognize the name of my co-author and friend who died tragically at the age of 49. We renamed the Center in her honor. Established initially five years ago at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA, the Center provides farmers or groups of consumers with information about how to start or improve a CSA. Among its resources are a slide show for recruiting members, a short video showing a CSA in action, sample CSA brochures, contracts, press releases, newsletters and other useful paperwork.
The Center also maintains a website which lists by state all the known CSAs in the United States. To keep the list up to date, the Center coordinates a biannual census of CSAs. If you move, or if you have relatives who want to find the nearest CSA, you can find the list at www.csacenter.org. The website also offers a list of experienced CSA farmers, like myself, who are willing to provide technical assistance to new CSAs. A committee of the Center is developing a participatory action research project involving CSA participants, farmers and academic researchers in investigating the economics of CSA. Finally, the Center works on legislative policy to support CSA farms, such as changing USDA regulations so that CSAs can accept food stamps. The Center coordinating committee, of which I am a member, hopes to raise enough money to keep the Center going by persuading every CSA member in the country to contribute a dollar a year. Our CSA has started the ball rolling.