Sosa has no idea what her fellow members are electing to pay. “And that makes such a difference, to not feel like a charity,” she said.
At Rock Steady, the annual price for members, based on their income, is split into high ($1,155), middle ($825) and lower ($660) brackets. In the lower bracket, that comes out to about $30 (£25) a week, for about eight or nine items. The farm also accepts Snap and EBT cards, the federal nutrition program formerly known as food stamps. Most people are in the middle bracket, while higher-income contributors subsidize those on the lower end of the scale.
When joining the program, customers are asked to take an inventory of their situation, both material and social, to determine how much to pay: do you own a house? Do you have a college education? Do you have savings? Those who do are asked to pay a higher share. Those who have significant debt or are renting or are senior citizens are invited to pay a lower share.
Rock Steady Farm offers a sliding scale for members with different incomes. Photograph: Eva Detch
A 2017 study of nearly 500 CSA farm managers across the US found that 14% offered subsidized programs. A more recent study identified more than 100 subsidized CSA programs.