Showing local love means supporting local farmers, and there’s no better way to do so than participating in a CSA–community supported agriculture–or a cooperative. The term “CSA” can be broad but generally speaks to a community-backed effort to receive locally and ethically harvested produce and products from regional farmers and gardeners. In South Florida, CSA subscription boxes often require upfront buy-ins during the summer months. This upfront payment allows farmers to properly prepare for their harvest.
Cooperatives are groups of farmers and purveyors who have united to meet a particular community need. Thus, a farm can work with an artisanal baker or an herb gardener, and together–as a cooperative–they package their specialties into a CSA offering. The CSA bundles may include fruits, veggies, edible flowers, eggs, and honey. In South Florida, the CSA box pickup season normally runs from November to April.
You’ll likely catch cooperatives selling their crops at farmers’ markets, but joining a CSA fertilizes a more sustainable and resilient local food system. The CSA model is beneficial on both ends. It helps local agriculturalists stay in business (especially in high-density areas where urban land is priced for development) and provides high-quality, fresh, seasonal, and usually organic produce to the customer.
The risk of a challenging growing season is equally shared between the farmer and buyer, but the end cost for veggies or unique goods is often comparable, if not less than, what you might pay at a big-box grocery store. With South Florida’s prime seasonal weather, what are you waiting for? And did we mention you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping for a few months?
Want in? Check out a few of our favorite South Florida CSAs and cooperatives.
Little River Cooperative has been leading the charge in sustainable farming and gardening practices throughout Miami-Dade. Though they are currently on a break, their cooperative buy-ins begin over the summer. Participants are informed of what they’ll receive via weekly emails. Those who miss the buy-in but still want to support Little River Cooperative’s efforts can visit them at the Legion Park Farmers Market on Saturdays (also the CSA pickup point). Little River Cooperative also programs farming education, gardening workshops, and plant sales year-round.
Little River Cooperative
Organic Grown Direct couples conscious farming with delivery convenience and operates throughout South Florida year-round. The delivery radius begins in South Miami and stretches up through Broward and Palm Beach–they even cover more suburban areas like Coral Springs and Parkland. Organic Grown Direct allows reasonable box substitutions to be made in advance. To boot, their office fruit baskets are perfect for groups craving healthy snack options. Organic Grown Direct’s deliveries are meant to last about two weeks.
Organic Grown Direct
Up in Davie, The Garden of Abundance–part of Tree Amigos Growers–is currently experiencing a sold-out CSA season. The next round of signups begins May 1 and closes September 1. Participants may retrieve their bounty on Saturdays at the farm, or weekly or biweekly throughout the harvesting season (schedules vary each year). The Garden of Abundance currently has an overflow list available for last-minute shoppers and also hosts monthly market days that are announced on social media.
Tee Amigos Growers
Known for their hydroponically grown produce, the Urban Farming Institute in Oakland Park is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Their CSA is dubbed the Farm Share Adventure and share pickup is only available at the farm. Unlike most CSAs, UFI offers a trial period with two shares priced at $85. If you enjoy the experience, you can continue your CSA box subscription by paying for the remaining distribution weeks.
Eye in South Florida
Suburbanites, rejoice! Nana’s Greene is here to help you get your hands on Homestead-grown greens and goodness. Together with heirloom tomato growers, Teena’s Pride, Nana’s Greene CSA boasts convenient pickup locations throughout South Florida, including Whole Foods in Aventura and Pembroke Pines (if a certain number of residents buy-in). They also host retrievals in North Miami, Coral Gables, and Pinecrest. Nana’s publishes their weekly box contents on their website and Twitter.
Miami Culinary Tours
Cover photo: Parade.
Liana Lozada is a writer, storyteller, and social media director with journalism roots. She’s a South Florida native who has been covering the local market for over ten years. When she’s not typing away or exploring around town (i.e., eating), you’ll likely catch her at the gym, perusing a flea market, playing with her dog, or staring at her fridge.