Not trying to use or diminish the name of any current organization, but the concept baffles me. There are co-op groups, some saying volunteer based, that sell a quantity of veggies and fruits a certain number of times in a certain time frame to customers. They portray themselves like a CSA, but here in Montana, I don't see any local produce in their packages. It seems to me they act like a CSA to the eyes of the buyer, but bring in out of state produce which isn't any different than a grocery store, but without paying the taxes and supporting the community like a grocery store does.
It seems as if their customers are thinking they are supporting something local, but they aren't. They are actually cutting into the local producers sales, but acting like a friend of the local farmer.
Now, I may be completely wrong for other areas, as they may use local produce in their baskets, but not so here in Montana.
If I were a customer spending 20 to 30 dollars a week for a basket, I would soon find I would rather spend that money on produce that I wanted each week, with a local producer, other than buying a "grab bag" of something I may not like or even use, or get so much of I had to give it away.
This just came this week. The veggies and fruit are from the US and Mexico, but certainly not local!
Very interesting to me. I would like to hear what others feel. Good or bad>
I agree. Seems like everyone is trying to jump on the 'fresh produce' wagon. Even chain stores here in GA claim they have local produce and display pictures of large commercial farms in South Georgia as their supplier. I guess it's local to the state for those items.
We have a local charity that sells onions just as ours are getting ready for market. It's a difficult market for a few months until our customers run out of their 10 and 20# bags. Since they are shipped half dry, they usually fade within a month.
I contacted the organization that comes into this area and they did not give a lot of warm fuzzies to working with them. They are based in Arizona and here are a couple of problems:
1- No sales tax on food in Arizona so they want all sales to happen in Arizona to avoid collecting and paying sales tax to the states they are entitled to it. Therefore ship to Arizona before coming back to Idaho. Not very fresh any more.
2- Send enough for the whole organization not just the local drops. A smaller operation like mine can't supply that much most of the time
Like my original synopsis, they are not local, they dodge local taxes (local state funding), are not fresh, and are very hard to track for accountability and safety traceback.
A local food group here just declined their accessability to their group because they saw through the smokescreen. Kudos to them.
When our local produce comes available, we are going to advertise heavily in their areas and try to win back the local business.