Chagfood is a subscription farming scheme based on the idea of Community Supported Agriculture. This is a relatively new approach to farming where consumers become members of the farm and commit to buy a share of the farm’s harvest for 12-months at a time.
In this way we have a secure market and are able to tailor our production to meet local demand. As a result we are able to adopt a more ecological and low-input approach to farming while our members take an active interest in where their food is coming from and how it is produced.
Community Supported Agriculture is popular across the rest of Europe and well established in the U.S. There are now more than 65 schemes operating successfully throughout the UK. Chagfood is one of the first schemes of its kind in Devon.
Here is a guide to how Chagfood works:
- The main Chagfood season runs for 28 weeks from the beginning of July to the end of January. This is the period when we aim to provide you with a full share of the harvest in individual boxes delivered once a week.
- In February, March and April we will distribute a share of the crops available. In a good year, like 2011 this could mean a continual supply of weekly salad along side other winter crops.
- May and June are very much the hungry gap when no crops are available as the new seasons veg is growing. If we have any early produce we will start delivering it as soon as it comes on-line.
- The price of your share is calculated for the 7 months (28 weeks) of potential full supply, with additional consideration taken into account for out of season produce, packing, delivery and membership costs.
- A small share currently costs £500 and a large £660 for a years membership to Chagfood. Our share prices have remained the same since 2011 despite UK food prices increasing by 18% over the same period, this reflects the economic resilience of community supported farming. We also offer subsidised shares to help people on a low income.
If you chose to pay by standing order your payment will be spread over the whole year but there will be weeks/months when you receive no produce. the model of Community Supported Agriculture works best when members pay up-front at the beginning of the season but we understand that this is not possible for everyone.
We calculate the price based on the amount of produce we aim to supply through the whole season. We do not usually give a weekly price as the value of the share goes up and down each week. This is because unlike other conventional box schemes we do not restrict our supply to a set number of items.
From July to October a small share might receive 10-20 items with large quantities of high value produce such as ecologically produced tomatoes.
We do not individually price the items and share whatever we produce equally between members with the large shares receiving a 1/3rd more.
From November to January the quantity of items might fall to 8 or below and then the season of supply ends during the hungry gap.
On average, a small share might work out at £13.50 per week for 28 weeks supply with an additional £2.21 a week to cover the rest of the season. A similar sized Riverford box is currently £16.65 with a limit of 10 items a week.
A large share would work out as £17.80 per week for 28 weeks supply with an additional £3.62 a week to cover the rest of the year. A similar sized Riverford box is currently £19.80 with a limit of 12 items a week.
We do not buy in any produce and only supply what we grow. This means that if there is a shortage, or crop failure the members carry the risk in order to support the farm through lean times. The reward is that in a good season the members will enjoy shares full to over-brimming with wonderful produce that is ecologically produced and delivered as soon as it is harvested. Over a period of years the financial risk and reward are hopefully in balance.
The running costs of the business are met through the membership subscription.
We are working towards an ecologically sustainable business where the benefits are felt within the community, creating local employment, volunteer opportunities and an alternative to the way in which we traditionally purchase food. We need the support of the community to continue thriving.
To subscribe to Chagfood for the 2015-2016 season download the membership form here and return it to:
Chagfood c/o Proper Job,
Devon, TQ13 8DR.