I just got back from San Francisco where i toured a city farm, a number of community gardens, visited a number of resturants that source locally (and one that is actually a farm business), and went to the Ferry Market site which has charming displays about their 800 people CSA. See how This HUGE San Fran CSA does it: www.farmfreshtoyou.com.
A CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture, and is an arrangement between a farmer(s) and customers where consumers pay “seed” money to the farmer before the season starts, and in return get a “share,” a box of food containing a variety of that farmers produce, weekly for a determined number of weeks. This helps the farmer have funds to get the new season crops started, and allows the customer to connect directly with the farmer and the farm, getting food as fresh as it comes (you pick up or get delivery typically on the day food is harvested) and in season (so especially for kids, this can be a great way to learn what grows when). Some farmers create work-share options, so for an exchange of labor your CSA cost is lowered. Alliance CSAs allow multiple farmers to pool their products creating a weekly share that may have meat from one farm, produce and eggs from another, and fruit and value-added products from yet another, etc . . . The marketing possibilities are only limited by the imagination.
A friend of mine is developing an open source web application for farmers to help them manage their CSAs online. He’s looking for farmer input; contact me if you want to participate!
San Fran City Farm: Alemany Community Farm
Bordered by a highway on one side, and apartments and houses on another, Alemany Farm has an orchard, bees, a pond and windmill, herbs, flowers, vegetables, both annual and perennials, and more.
San Fran also has city-wide composting. Now that is impressive!! And doable . . .