FAQ

(For the latest CSA information, please see Cedar Isle Farm website and the CSA registration form)

What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, an arrangement between one or more farmers and a group of people who pay a membership fee entitling them to a share of a season’s harvest. Urban Grains uses this model because we believe it supports local agriculture and fosters a strong consumer/producer relationship. It supports the farmer up front with capital to grow the crop, guarantees a market and helps to cultivate a local, sustainable food system.  You can read more about the concept on Wikipedia.

What was the inspiration behind Urban Grains?
In 2007, residents of the Creston and Nelson area founded the Creston Grain CSA, the first community supported agriculture program for grain in BC. We decided to adopt a similar model for the Vancouver area. A previous post on our blog (Live in Vancouver. Eat Local Grain.) provides a more detailed explanation.

What are the risks?
By paying in advance, CSA members adopt some of the risk of growing their grain.  While every effort is made to ensure success, this cannot be guaranteed.  Unfavourable weather, plant disease or other problems beyond our control could lead to a poor harvest — reducing the availability of certain types of grain and restricting members’ choice,  or resulting in each member receiving less than their complete share.  In the event of a catastrophic crop failure, where no shares could be delivered, we would reimburse members 50% of the share cost, with the reminder retained to cover farm expenses and administrative costs. That said, the crops have been planted and are growing well this year.  As in every previous season, we are optimistic that members will share a successful Urban Grains harvest!

How do I join?
Click “Get a Share” and read this year’s offer details.  Please note that our grain supply varies from year to year, but we do our very best to accommodate all members.

Who is growing the grain?
Jim Grieshaber-Otto, Diane Exley and their two children manage a community-minded organic family farm where all of the CSA grain is grown.  About 100 acres in size, Cedar Isle Farm partners with two neighbouring dairy farms to produce silage and hay (for both cows and horses), and raises free range layer hens, free-range broiler chickens, and several types of grain.

Is it certified organic?
Yes, our Grains CSA flour and kernels are certified organic by BCARA.  The farm has also received Salmon Safe certification.

How much do members receive?
Members with a full share receive 20 kg of product, packaged in four-5 kg bags. Half-shares are 10 kg, packaged in two-5kg bags.

What types of grain will be included in the CSA?
The 2015 share offer includes hard red spring (bread) wheat, soft white spring (pastry) wheat, and rye.

Where is the grain milled into flour?
Our Grain CSA flour is milled at Anita’s Organic Mill  in Chilliwack. 

Can members receive their share unmilled, as kernels?
Yes. Members can choose kernels, or flour, or a combination of both, to make up their 20 kg limit (or 10 kg limit, in the case of a half-share).

What can I do with kernels (also known as “wheat berries”)?
Kernels are easy to store and offer great flexibility.  They can be cooked like rice. Sprouted, they make a tasty addition to salads.  Rolled in a small flaker, they are delicious in cookies, cooked cereal or toasted granola.  And of course, if you have a small mill (or access to one), you can grind your kernels into beautifully fresh flour whenever you need it!

How much does it cost?
In 2015 each 20kg share is $95. A half share is $55.

Can members purchase additional shares? Partial shares?

Yes, additional shares can be purchased right away but to ensure fair access for all members, multiple shares are subject to grain availability at harvest. Partial shares?… Yes, this year we’re offering half-shares, consisting of two-5kg bags of flour or grain. From: Cedar Isle Farm / Urban Grains CSA

How do members receive their shares?
After harvest, processing and milling, we bring shares to a central location in Vancouver for members to pick-up. Some members also choose to pick up their share in Chilliwack, at Anita’s Organic Mill. The date of share distribution will be announced well in advance, but will likely be in early October.

How should I store flour?
We recommend keeping whole grain flour “cold, dark and airtight” for longer term storage.  Please read our previous post “How to care for your share”.

What if I have more questions?
Please direct any questions that could not be answered through the FAQ to urbangrains@gmail.com.

 Thank you for your interest in Cedar Isle Organic Grains CSA!