Reflections on 10 Years of Fair Shares CCSA - Volume 1

Why do we do this?

Fair Shares Farmers, including current farmers Bob Lober of St. Isidore (2nd from left), Rusty Lee of Lee Farms,
Paul and Nancy Krautmann of Bellews Creek Farms. Also Julie Holley of Ozark Forest Mushrooms, (2nd from right).

We have current members who have been with us from the beginning, and many more who have joined in along the way. Some of us are in it for the long haul. We know that WHY we are part of the local food movement means more to us than WHAT the program offers. We are more interested in the principles and values of supporting our local economy and connecting with our food and its sources than we are with simply satisfying our need for convenience. We and our members have been trying to persuade our friends and family to join Fair Shares forever. What holds people back from joining? What keeps them from staying in? What are their fears? Why should they join? Why are you a member? Why do we all do this?

We believe in the tenets of Slow Food—that food should be Good, Clean and Fair. We believe in supporting small local farmers who care about the environment, their animals, and the quality and safety of the food they contribute to the community. This isn’t just a job to get a paycheck to them, and it isn’t to us either—it’s the right thing to do.

We believe that farmers should make a living wage and that they should be paid when they deliver their goods. In the industrial food system, farmers must rely on economy of scale and grow vast amounts of environmentally and nutritionally unfriendly food in order to sell it cheaply enough to stores, who don’t give them their measly paycheck until 30 days after delivery. 

We believe that food should be nourishing and delicious rather than just cheap and uniform. We understand that not everyone can afford to eat the food that lives up to these standards, and that there are not enough farmers growing food in this manner to feed everyone. We feel that those of us who can afford it have a responsibility to do our part in supporting our small local farmers, creating more demand, in the hopes of encouraging more large-scale farmers to practice sustainable techniques.

We believe that we can teach our children the importance of knowing where our food comes from, and of supporting local farms who practice techniques that help the earth and our community, and that treat animals humanely. We also believe we can teach kids to eat weird food, and that we can incorporate CSA into our busy lives. Here’s an interesting article about what kids around the globe eat for breakfast, and here’s an article by Mark Bittman about how to get your kids to eat (or least try) everything.

We believe that the industrial food system is made up of big corporations who lobby against the best interests of the consumer because they care more about monetary and political gains than they do about the health and well-being of humans, animals and the land. We believe that the most effective way to fight this assault on our personal values is to vote with our food dollars, so we’ve created a system to allow ourselves and others to do just that.

Perhaps we should all ask one another: How do your actions demonstrate your beliefs?

Tip: Dried Tomatoes

Pour a tablespoon of wine or balsamic vinegar over tomatoes, cover and let stand 30 minutes. Add herbs and bay leaf Cover tomatoes with oil; stir or tap jar to remove any trapped air. Store in fridge use within 6 weeks. Additions Add feta cheese, olives…serve with pasta, salads or serve as an appetizer with a...Read more


Del Carmen has been a vendor for Fair Shares for 3+ years now.  We have developed a quality relationship based on trust. Our communications have been seamless. In addition, Fair Shares and its members have been great marketers for our products.  As a (very) small business, we are unable to advertise or market our products, so we have to rely on word of mouth.  Many of our customers are, were, or know Fair Shares members who have recommended our products.

Del Carmen has also benefitted from valuable ideas for use of existing products and suggestions in product development from the Fair Shares community.  I go to them for feedback, knowing I will get good, reliable and useful information.

We thank you, Fair Shares, for your support and commitment to del Carmen. We wish you much continued success.  After all, your success also helps the success of del Carmen and other local vendors and farmers.

Estie Cruz-Curoe, del Carmen Beans, St. Louis, MO