When I started Eat Outside the Box ten years ago, there were no CSA deliveries from local farms to our region. It was as if Central Contra Costa County existed in a local food black hole.
So, I thought it would be a great idea to start something up. I was new to the area and didn't really know how to get going. I called some farmers in Brentwood. I asked them if they knew about CSA and would they like to start one that delivered to the Walnut Creek area. Nobody was too excited about creating the shares, collecting the money, managing the books and membership and promoting the thing.
I called the organic farms back. "Well, what if I managed all that and you just delivered," I asked. "How do we start?" The farms agreed to start with a group of eight members who would pick up at a central location (my house--very central for me). I would need to round up members, get them to commit to a certain amount of time and take care of all the details.
I remember having a meeting at my house where about 12 people showed up. Eight signed up right away and we were off! Over the years about 300 people have participated by eating outside the box. Our yearly numbers have ranged from 8 in the first year to well over 80 a few years back. But now, there are a lot of options for joining in CSAs and buying locally produced food.
I am sad and happy to close down Eat Outside the Box CSA. It has served its purpose by increasing awareness about local eating, educating people about local farms and garnering support and enthusiasm for new models of connecting with farmers. I just had my last delivery of wonderful produce from Knoll Farms and Frog Hollow Farm this week. I will always treasure the experience and the members throughout the past ten years who have been so supportive and full of energy.
I'm kinda excited to become a CSA member who just goes and picks up a box each week. But, I'll miss meeting the farm truck every Monday night and having the close relationship I have had with the farmers over the years. I'll also miss all the members. They are amazing and interesting people who have been willing to commit to something many people don't even think about: supporting local farms.