Our sliding scale CSA philosophy
Zephyr Organics offers a sliding scale CSA or “pay what you can, take what you need” model. By using a sliding scale, we are practicing economic solidarity: we are cooperating together to provide mutual support to ensure our community is well fed and your farmers are fairly compensated.
CSA is built on trust. While some farmers ask you to apply for “scholarship” funds or a need-based discount, we never ask you to document your income or provide justification. Your income is used to provide a sliding scale suggestion. We know that you are in the best position to assess your finances. We want you to decide what to pay based on your situation.
Step 1: Income-based suggestion
Our sliding scale CSA compares your income to the expenses required to provide a secure standard of living in Washington County. We use the secure standard of living figures from the Economic Policy Institute (source – updated 12/31/2023).
Step 2: Consider your wealth and privilege in addition to income
Our sliding scale CSA encourages you to consider other factors besides income that affect your financial status. Some groups of privileged people go through life with a tailwind at their back, others with less privilege face a headwind (listen to this Freakonomics podcast for an explanation). For most people, there is a mix of tailwinds and headwinds. Please consider wealth and privilege as well as income.
Consider contributing more when you:
- Own your home;
- have retirement accounts, investments, or inherited money;
- have access to family money and resources in times of need; have significant discretionary expenses like travel, dining out, entertainment, etc.;
- have a relatively high degree of earning power due to your education level (or other privileges you may have associated with race, gender, citizenship status, class background, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, etc.). Even if you are not currently exercising your earning power – we ask you to recognize when this is a choice and consider contributing more.
Consider contributing less when you:
- Are supporting other dependents or sending remittances;
- have significant non-mortgage debt, particularly cash advance or payday loans;
- have medical expenses not covered by insurance;
- are impacted by state violence (e.g. refugees, asylees and injustice in our criminal system).