Applying to the Farm Share Program

Summer Applications - CLOSED

Fall/Winter Applications - OPEN AUGUST 1st

Application Process

  1. Review the information contained on this webpage.
  2. Determine which CSA you would like to receive a share from. For a listing of CSA farms, visit the NOFA-VT CSA Directory.
  3. Determine what size share you would like to receive from that CSA farm.
  4. Complete a Farm Share Application (word) (pdf).
  5. Your application will be reviewed by NOFA-VT and you will be notified regarding your application status beginning in late-March.
  6. If your application is approved, you will be provided instructions for next steps, including arranging payment for your portion of the CSA share directly to the CSA farm.

For more Information: Michael Good | michael@nofavt.org | 802-434-4122 x 26

Eligiblility

Limited-income Vermonters who meet the income eligibility standard may participate in the program.

2017 Income Guidelines (185% Federal Poverty Limit)

  HOUSEHOLD SIZE  
INCOME 1 2 3 4 5 6
Weekly $429 $578 $726 $875 $1,024 $1,173
Monthly $1,859 $2,504 $3,148 $3,793 $4,437 $5,081
Yearly $22,311 $30,044 $37,777 $45,510 $53,243 $60,976

How Payment Works

The NOFA-VT Farm Share Program is a cost-sharing program that offers financial support to limited-income Vermonters for purchasing a CSA share. The program is available to Vermonters who live at or below 185% of the federal poverty income limit. Participants receive up to a 50% subsidy of a CSA share from a local farm.

In other words, the participant is expected to pay ½ the cost of the share, with the other ½ being paid by contributions from community members and local businesses and organizations. Participants who do not need a full 50% reduction in the share cost are encouraged to request a smaller subsidy. This sliding scale system allows the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program to provide assistance to more families around the state.

A CSA farm reserves the right to limit the share size(s) that are supported as a part of the Farm Share Program or limit the funding made available by the farm in support of shares, in an effort to support the greatest number of households. For instance, some farms limit the farm share to small (or medium) shares only or they may only support up to a $600 share.

In an effort to support the greatest number of applicants, NOFA-VT is able to support shares up to a $600 value (pending approval by individual CSA farms). Applicants interested in receiving larger shares may do so, but any cost over $600 will be the sole responsibility of the applicant, and will not be eligible for a subsidized rate.

Participants of the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program are also eligible for scholarships to attend NOFA-VT’s Summer Workshops and Winter Conference.

Who pays for the subsidy?

The NOFA-VT Farm Share Program relies on collaboration and community support to fund the share subsidies. Funds are raised through a statewide annual fundraiser called Share the Harvest, through statewide grants, and from individual donations from members of CSA programs. In the end, the program is truly a community effort, with many hands supporting the cost of the subsidies. This is what the cost-sharing of the NOFA-VT Farm Share Program looks like:

     Farm Share Participant Pays: 50% of Total Share Cost *
     CSA Community Members Donate: 25% of Total Share Cost
     NOFA-VT Contributes: 25% of Total Share Cost

 * Participants are invited to pay more than 50% if they are able. Please indicate if you are able to pay more than 50% on your application. By requesting only the amount of assistance that you need, you are enabling the Vermont Farm Share Program to serve as many people as possible.

As a Farm Share participant, who do I pay? Do I have to pay all at once?

Once your participation in the Program is confirmed, you should make payment arrangements directly with your CSA farmer. Your payment should be sent directly to your farmer. It is possible that your farm may accept a payment plan if you are unable to pay your part of the CSA costs in one payment. Early conversations with your CSA farmer are encouraged.

Finding and Choosing a CSA Farm 

How do I find a participating farm?
     You can find a listing of CSA farms in your area by visiting our CSA Directory. Last year, 39 CSA farms participated in the Program. If you are interested in a particular farm but are not sure of their participation, feel free to contact the farm, contact NOFA-VT or click Farm Share Farms.

Can I choose which farm I partner with?
     You can indicate a farm that you prefer to sign up with on your application. We will then confirm that the farm has supported shares available. If they do no have any more shares, we will look for another nearby participating farm and contact you about the change.

 What if I do not know of a particular CSA farm?
     If you do not have a preference for a specific farm, please check the listing of CSAs on our website for a farm that has a convenient pick-up location close to where you live, work or travel. You may also call our office for help with choosing a farm that will work for you.

When can I apply?

Is there an application deadline?
     Applications are accepted in the order that they are received by our office. There are currently two application cycles for the Farm Share Program - summer and fall.

Summer
     Applications Accepted: March 1 until June 1

Fall
     Applications Accepted: August 1 until November 1

What happens if my application is not accepted?
     If your application is received after we have allocated all of the Farm Share funds for a given season, it will be temporarily put on a waiting list in case funds become available. It will remain on the waiting list for two weeks. If funds do not become available during this period, you will be notified that your application cannot be funded. You are encouraged to apply again the following season.

About CSAs

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
     Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms offer prepaid subscriptions to shares of the farm’s produce for a season. Most CSA’s provide shareholders a basket of farm-fresh, seasonal produce every week for 2-4 months. Shares vary from farm to farm, sometimes including eggs, cheeses, bread, and meat. Some CSA farms even offer shares during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons.

     Being a CSA member allows you to know that you are eating fresh, healthy foodand that you are supporting a local farm. The prepaid CSA arrangements are a source of financial security for Vermont’s farmers. With the cost of a CSA share, members help pay for seeds, equipment maintenance, and labor, while also helping to disperse the financial risks of crop failures.

     CSA invites members to join a farm community to share in the experiences of growing, eating, and celebrating delicious farm-fresh food.

Things to Consider When Choosing a CSA

What is in a typical CSA share?
     Remember, every farm is different! Most CSA shares are available during the summer months when Vermont weather is best suited for fruit and vegetable production; however, there has been an increase in the program options available during other seasons. CSA farms are also diversifying their operations to encourage more community members to purchase a share that fits their unique needs. Here are some of the options to consider when you are looking for a CSA program:

Share Size: Some farms offer small, medium and large shares for different sized households.

Share Season: Most CSA shares occur in the summer; however, more ‘off-season’ shares that offer farm-fresh foods throughout the fall, winter, and early spring are popping up around the state.

Share Products: Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are the most typical products you will find in a CSA share; however, more programs are offering other local add-on foods including meat, eggs, cheese, and fresh baked and canned goods.

Delivery vs. Pick-Up: Some CSA farms deliver their shares to pick-up sites in a number of towns; some will even deliver to your house. Other CSA farms ask members to come to the farm to pick-up their shares, which may include some pick-your-own products like fresh herbs, flowers, berries, etc. Furthermore, some programs provide CSA members with a farm debit card that can be used at the farm stand or farmers’ market booth.

Share Cost: Share costs range from $100-$800 depending on the share size and product offerings.