Goodbye Hobby Garden, Hello Money Garden! Building Commercial Relationships Between Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farmers and Local Gardeners for Mutual Benefit

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2009: $6,625.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Eve and Chris Kaplan-Walbrecht
Garden of Eve Organic Farm


  • Agronomic: potatoes
  • Vegetables: artichokes, beets, cabbages, carrots, celery, garlic, onions, parsnips, sweet potatoes


  • Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal summary:

    Current issue

    At long last, awareness of the importance of eating local organic food is booming. Interest in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has exploded in the New York (NY) Metro area and so has the number of people interested in buying CSA shares. Ironically, there is no longer enough organic produce being grown by CSA farmers to meet this demand.

    At the same time, low-income and even middle-class people are struggling to meet costs of living in the NY Metro area. Although less than 2% of the American population currently farms, more and more people are returning to backyard gardening which helps them reduce the costs of their food, get exercise, increase their appreciation for food production, and build interest in local land conservation efforts.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project aims to build upon this existing momentum towards a “farming rebirth” of the United States’ first suburban area, Long Island, NY. Partnering with the Queens County Farm Museum and others, we will offer “Gardening for Money” workshops around Long Island to teach current and would-be gardeners how to grow storage crops for cash. Growers will sign the NOFA Farmers’ Pledge and promise to use organic methods, and then will bring their harvest to Garden of Eve and potentially other farms, for payment by the pound based on previously agreed upon wholesale prices.

    By obtaining organic produce from gardeners that can be resold profitably (by explicit agreement) through our CSA groups, farmers benefit, and more CSA shares could be offered for NY City residents. By being given access to profitable market networks, gardeners benefit. The financial incentive will encourage new backyard growers, a more sustainable local economy increasingly based on agriculture production (defined broadly to include home gardening as a type of agriculture), with food dollars cycling from residents to farmers and back to residents. This type of “win-win” arrangement would be highly replicable in any area of the country that has unmet demand for specific types of produce.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.