Here’s a slightly different way to get your organic vegetables this summer: sign up for a Community Sponsored Agriculture scheme.

It’s similar to regular organic box schemes (you still get a weekly box of organic goodies), but is aimed specifically at supporting small-scale, previously disadvantaged farmers, and instead of paying as you go, which can put stress on farmers who don’t then know how much they’ll be able to sell (and can’t afford to waste any of their crop), you pay in advance.

The upfront cash gives these smaller farmers the security they need to go ahead with growing their produce throughout the summer.

These schemes operate all over the world, with great success, and now Slow Food Cape Town is considering implementing and managing one right here in the Mother City:

Slow Food Cape Town is currently exploring a summer organic box scheme with a small-scale, previously disadvantaged farmer. Under the scheme, scheme members would pay upfront for this farmer to grow us a selection of certified organics summer veggies, to be received over the course of the summer (probably January through April).

Slow Food Cape Town would arrange optional outings to the farm, to see the veggies growing, including a picnic celebration at the first summer harvest. Over the rest of the summer, scheme members would receive a box of summer veggies (such as mielies, cherry tomatoes, lettuce) every week.

I particularly like the sound of the optional outings to see the vegetables you’re going to be eating (I love knowing where my food came from) and I think the idea of celebrating the first summer harvest is fabulous (when last did you even know it was harvest time?).

So, I’ll definitely be signing up if they manage to get this thing going. Obviously, they’ll need support, so if you would be interested in taking part in a scheme like this, please email your name, contact details and suburb to Kate at kateschrire [at] gmail.com.

Please also indicate whether you would be willing to pick up your veggie box once a week from a local drop-off point, so they can get an idea of feasibility.

Here’s hoping it gets off the ground, because I sure would like to get to that there picnic!

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