Many people in the California Bay Area receive CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) produce boxes delivered to their homes. But did you know that many more people also get CSA deliveries via Co-Op drop sites at their work, school, and other community organizations? There are a ton of great reasons to choose this option over a home CSA delivery.
Today we will discuss the basics about a CSA Co-Op drop site. This includes what to consider when deciding to establish your own program, how to start a CSA Co-Op drop site at your organization, and the benefits that come with hosting your own CSA Co-Op drop site program.
The Basics About Starting An Organic CSA Co-Op Drop Site
What Exactly is a CSA Co-Op Drop Site?
A CSA Co-Op Drop Site is when a community of people organize to receive a group delivery of local organic produce from small organic farmers at their organization.
There Are Two Types of CSA Co-Op Drop Sites
CSA Co-Op Drop Site deliveries come in two modes and are determined by the goals of your group. These two types are fundraising Co-Ops or discount Co-Ops.
A fundraising CSA Co-Op is great for non-profit organizations like schools, community centers, or churches. With this type of Co-op your organization can raise funds towards a fundraiser of your choice. Some common examples of fundraisers your CSA Co-Op can support are sports teams, student councils, charities, or for someone in need.
Participants usually pay regular price for their CSA delivery and a percentage of those sales are then donated back on a monthly basis. If you are a school then parents of students should be encouraged to receive their deliveries at the school too. This helps increase the fundraising. For more fun you can even have different teams within the fundraising CSA Co-Op that can compete to see who can raise the most money.
On the other hand, a discount Co-Op is usually what a business elects to host. These are also the most popular type of CSA Co-Op drop sites. This is because businesses often intend their CSA Co-Op drop site as a free and low maintenance part of their greater wellness benefits package for their employees. In this case, employees receive a discount on seasonally local organic produce. This is in addition to the many other benefits listed below.
The type of CSA Co-Op drop site is determined when you start the Co-Op. However, you may be able to switch back and forth as your goals evolve. For example, if you have a discount Co-Op for your business and one of your employees falls on hard times. Then you could temporarily convert your discount Co-Op to a fundraiser to raise funds to help out your colleague.
Which CSA Co-Op drop site you choose will depend on the goals of your organization. A CSA Co-Op provider like Golden Gate Organics will be able to work with you to help determine your goals and ensure you are set up to help your organization achieve its goals.
Determining Your CSA Co-Op Drop Site Privacy Settings
Your privacy and security should always be a priority for any CSA Co-Op provider you work with. If you need a private Co-Op and that option isn’t available then steer clear! Always ensure you have the option to make your CSA Co-Op private to ensure the safety of your organization and its members. Most CSA Co-Op drop sites have two options for you to choose from: public or private.
Private CSA Co-Op Drop Site
Most CSA Co-Op drop sites are Private. This is especially important for organizations, like schools, or laboratories where security and safety are paramount. When you set up your CSA Co-Op drop site you will be asked if you want your drop site public or private.
Public CSA Co-Op Drop Site
A public CSA Co-Op drop site is great for a business or local community group who wants to build awareness of their brand or simply wants to expand their community. For example, a hardware store or dentist office may setup a public CSA Co-Op to bring people to their store more often. On the other hand, a church group may also have a public CSA Co-Op drop site to help build awareness and promote their mission of inclusion. Either way, there are many options for you to consider to best meet your goals!
General Requirements For Hosting A CSA Co-Op Drop Site
No matter if your Co-Op is public or private, a fundraiser or discount, all CSA Co-Op drop sites will need the following structure in place to be successful. A successful CSA provider, like Golden Gate Organics, will be able to assist the onsite coordinator with setting all of this up.
An Onsite Coordinator
All Co-Ops need to have an onsite person to act as a coordinator and designated point of contact. This can be anyone at your organization and is usually an office manager. A replacement should be able to be designated at any time if your organization requires. Make sure to ask your CSA provider about this when setting up your CSA Co-Op drop site program. If your organization will be closed for a holiday, summer break, or any other reason, then your CSA provider will need to be notified by your site coordinator. Also, if your CSA Co-Op is a fundraiser then your CSA provider will need to know who to send your funds to each month. Onsite coordinators sometimes get additional surprises too!
Plan For Non-Pickups
You will need a plan for when a box isn’t picked up. Most successful programs have an end of day pick up policy. In these cases, the onsite coordinator will donate the box if not picked up. Alternatively, the onsite coordinator may call the person and organize a pick up with them.
A Drop-off Area
You will need a designated drop-off area. This can be a lobby, waiting area, shipping and receiving department, or other convenient location. It is important that this area is easily accessible to your employees without being too obvious to the public. Moreover, any insurance requirements and security access will need to be worked out ahead of time. Your CSA Co-Op provider should be able to effortlessly guide you through this process.
Get The Word Out!
Your organization will need a champion to disseminate information to new and existing employees. Successful organizations post fliers at the drop-off area with the onsite coordinator’s contact information, send out periodic newsletters with info about the program, and introduce new hires to the program.
Benefits of A CSA Co-Op Drop Site
From discounts on your healthy eating lifestyle to supporting local farmers and the environment, starting a CSA co-op drop site has some great benefits for all involved! Below are the benefits of the Golden Gate Organics CSA Co-Op drop site program. However, many other CSA Co-Ops should have similar benefits for you to enjoy! For more information on the benefits of joining CSA’s in general click here.
When you start a discount Co-Op you get a discount on your weekly produce. Some CSA providers, like Golden Gate Organics, work with small organic farms and offer 50% off the first box for people joining your Co-Op plus 10% off regular prices for each subsequent box. Contact your local Bay Area CSA Co-Op provider to see what cost savings they can offer your organization.
Earn Free Fruit For Your Office
If your Co-Op achieves a pre-established goal of participation then your office can earn free rewards. Ask your Co-Op program provider how to earn free office fruit deliveries or discounted office fruit deliveries as part of your business wellness services. To learn more about the benefits of having organic fruit in your office Click Here.
Support Local Organic Farms and Fight Climate Change
This may be perhaps the most important reason to to join a CSA Co-Op. When our hybrid delivery vehicle can drop off 40 boxes of organic produce to one organization that means 40 cars are staying off the road and producing much less carbon emissions! Additionally, all Co-Op members receive local organic produce grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. This results in less soil runoff, less toxic algae blooms, and helps strength and support your local foodshed. But there are even more reasons to eat local.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, eating locally sourced organic produce is the biggest and most important step anyone can easily take. Fresh organic produce is packed with nutrients which your body needs on a daily basis. Also, while many local CSA’s are 100% organic, some are not. So make sure you ask! In the Bay Area, Golden Gate Organics only delivers 100% non-GMO organic produce that is as local as seasonally possible from small farms. They were even ranked the best CSA and box delivery service in the Bay Area among their ten best peers.
Customize Every Order To Get Just What You Want When You Want It
Everyone who is part of the Co-Op and receives a CSA box will be able to customize each order. This includes what produce you will receive in each order as well as your delivery date. It is super easy to add or skip deliveries ahead of time if you know you will be out of town. Consequently, everyone gets exactly what they want, when they want it. And with convenient email notifications, you will always know what is in your order ahead of time so there are no surprises.
The Highest Quality Produce and Convenience
When you receive seasonal organic produce at your own CSA Co-Op drop site program you will immediately notice the difference in quality when compared to any grocery store. Because CSA providers get their produce right from the farm their produce is much fresher when it gets to you. Likewise, many people like to keep fruit at work for healthy snacks between meals and take the rest home to share with their family. All of this is delivered, usually for free.
Have Questions or Ready to Set Up Your Own Program?
If you have any questions about CSA Co-Op drop sites send us a message on our contact form. Or, if you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in setting up your own Co-Op drop site program please contact Golden Gate Organics by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (510) 698-9446 to start your 100% organic CSA co-op drop-site.