Downtown Harvest’s mission is to promote stewardship of the earth through our support of local, organic farming and building community relationships.
We are a 100% volunteer group - with a core team of 5 at the start of the 2013 season - who have been operating in downtown Jersey City for the past 8 years. 2013 will be our 9th season in the community.
In addition to providing a source of local, fresh produce to the community over 24 weeks in the summer, we have also partnered with Our Lady of Sorrows emergency food pantry based in Jersey City, and provide them with shares generously donated by our members.
What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) - The concept is simple, but the sum of the CSA experience is greater than its individual parts. A CSA is all about relationships – with a farmer, with the earth and with each other.
A CSA is a group of people who purchase a portion of a farmer’s harvest before it is even planted. Paying the farmer in advance provides funds needed at the beginning of the year: for seed, farm supplies, labor, etc. CSAs also provide farmers an assured market for their produce, enabling them to spend more time on the farm, and less time marketing.
During the harvest season, once a week the farmer brings the members’ weekly share to a distribution location. Members come to collect their vegetables, trade cooking tips and catch up with friends.
While we always hope for a bountiful harvest, it is important to note that members also share the risks of farming with their farmer. Each growing season is unique with different weather, pest conditions and even the deer.
Our farmer provides members with a weekly update from the farm where members learn about the growing season, the challenges he encounters and how he responds to them. Members often say that they have a new appreciation for the vegetables they pick up each week.
How the CSA works - Members sign up and pay for shares in the late winter. In late May/early June, the farmer begins to send shares (produce) to us at the Downtown Harvest member pick-up location at 120 Sussex Street, Jersey City.
Our weekly pick-ups are scheduled on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. We will inform our members in advance of any schedule changes due to holidays or weather etc. Our agreement with the farmer for 2013 is for a 24 week season. Members are responsible for coming to the pick-up location for their shares - they can also designate individuals to pick-up on their behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost?
The cost of a share for the 2013 season was $575 before March 30th and $600 after the discounted period. All of this money was sent directly to the farmer.
In addition, a small administration fee was applied. This fee covers the cost of the web site, paper bags for vegetables and other miscellaneous supplies.
We will post the cost for the 2014 season when enrollment begins in early 2014.
Do I need to volunteer any time to the CSA?
Yes. Our CSA is operated entirely by volunteer efforts. Each member is required to contribute his/her time at least once during the season. Most members do this by working one delivery night. Others contribute their time to help run the CSA and various activities.
When is the season?
The season runs for 24 weeks. The first delivery is expected in June. The exact date is dependent on growing conditions and will be communicated to members close to the starting date.
Where is the distribution point?
Members come to the garage next door to the OLC Church, 120 Sussex Street, Jersey City to pick up their shares on Wednesdays. The distribution site is open from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
What kind of vegetables can I expect, how much and when?
The vegetables distributed will vary as the season progresses. Early deliveries contain more greens, then progress into the later summer and early fall vegetables with more variety and quantity. Most weeks you will have from 6-10 varieties of organic produce. How many the share will feed depends on the member – how often you cook at home, and whether vegetables play a significant part in your meals
Please note that because farming conditions such as weather, pests and animal damage are always unpredictable, types and quantities of produce CANNOT be guaranteed.
Can I purchase half a share?
Half shares are not available. If you would like to split your share with a friend or relative you may do so.
What happens if I forget to pick up my share, or can’t get there in time?
Any produce that remains at 8:00 pm is given to the Emergency Food Pantry operated by Our Lady of Sorrows, along with shares that have been donated to them. This produce helps to provide a ‘life raft’ to our Jersey City neighbors who are experiencing an emergency need for food.
Can I visit the farm?
We plan a farm visit each year with a potluck lunch and farm tour – this is a great family day in the country.
How can I join?
Enrollment will re-open to everyone in early 2014. For more information, please contact us.