I have heard about community supported agriculture (CSA): customers pay farmers in advance for their produce and then share in either the bounty or the famine. It’s a great way to support local farms, and a relatively certain way to get fresh produce for a good price. I just heard a report tonight that Vermont restaurants such as The Bee’s Knees and Claire’s are experimenting with Community Supported Restaurants (CSR). As if we didn’t need another acronym.
The idea is pretty interesting. It’s kind of like micro-loans or micro-investing, only that it’s a community-based thing and you get your money back in food, not in…cash. The logic isn’t all that bad. We all want a nice restaurant in town that we can go to on a regular basis, even if we all can’t afford to go every week. So you gather those people together and get them on board up front. You’re paying for all of your dinners out for the next four years all at once. We do the same with fuel oil and propane, why not food? It seems like a win-win.
The best part is these restaurants are building better communities. They provide a place to hang out where local artists and musicians can show off their talents. It’s all part of the creative economy trend sweeping through New England to the point of saturation.
I think the key here is that local people are taking their destiny into their own hands and asking others to help them realize these dreams. They’re saying, “We want this kind of town and so do you. What’s stopping us from making it so?”