Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sliding Scale Shares Now Available!

Please apply by May 15th. 

We're very happy to announce that sliding scale shares are now available for low-income community members. You can read more on the Sliding Scale Page and apply online. Please join us!

Sliding scale shares are made possible by the generosity of Garden of Eve Farm and individual CSA members who contributed to the sliding scale fund. If you're a returning CSA member, please consider giving to the fund! And if you didn't give but you changed your mind, drop us a line at kwtcsa@gmail.com.

I'd like to share a little bit about the mechanics of sliding scale and how we made the decisions we did this year. The rest of this post is just background information, so please click through above if you're looking for the application!

The core group members have been interested in making our CSA more inclusive. We were inspired by our neighbors at the Flatbush Farm Share that has a sliding scale membership program. For many, the inability to pay up-front is as much a barrier to joining the CSA as the cost of shares. While sliding scale members are committing to the whole season just like other members, they will pay monthly instead. An important point that I'd like to emphasize is that the CSA itself needs to fully fund these shares up front. The farm needs to get paid in advance for the season so they can run their business. We are here to support the farm's sustainable business practices so they can focus on what they do best: keeping us fed with healthy, delicious, organic produce!

So we've established a "rolling fund" that purchases sliding scale members' shares up front and gets repaid by the members monthly. Of course, these members are not paying at the full price rate, but they are replenishing some of the fund's finances over the year. The farm has generously offered to contribute a share equivalent to our efforts, and it's great to have their support.

To put it in numbers, if a share normally cost $100 and we offered a 50% discount to a family, the CSA rolling fund would pay the farm $100 for the share in May, and then get paid back in installments for the $50 discounted rate. The sliding scale fund both covers the up-front cost and the difference between the discounted share and the full-price share. So we need to keep the rolling fund funded with the full value of the sliding scale shares at the beginning of the season. The money you put into the rolling fund does go directly to low-income members, but we need more funds than just covering the discount we're offering.

We're also a small group of volunteer organizers who make this CSA happen (we get paid in veggies!), so we knew we'd need to keep the sliding scale simple this year to get our bearings. For this reason, we haven't been able to accept EBT or online payments. We're not a non-profit, so contributions to the rolling fund aren't tax deductible, but we hope that won't discourage people from contributing. We're optimistic about this year and look forward to being able to connect with more neighbors!

-Melissa for the Core Group

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