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: Mushroom Handling Tips

Mushrooms need to be kept cold in a breathable bag, so store them in the fridge in the paper bag they come in. Shiitake mushrooms have a tough stem, so remove that and save it in the freezer for stocks. Oyster mushrooms are all edible, except for the dirty little bit at the "root." Oyster mushrooms are more...Read more


Fair Shares has created a new level of sales opportunities for area growers beyond restaurants and farmers markets. They have simplified for us the most difficult part of farming: marketing. Selling to Fair Shares has enabled us to sell larger quantities of produce with great ease. Not only is the ordering process simple but we can combine our deliveries with other farms in our area. Their commitment to supporting small local farms is unparalleled in the St Louis area, and we love them for it!

Berger Bluff Farm