I was so excited when I learned that the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
offered a subsidy for low-income folks. I mean really, REALLY excited. Every year I listen with envy to friends recounting all the wonderful and interesting items they've received in their CSAs and would be so sad that I couldn't afford to participate. When I found out about the subsidy I applied immediately because I am eligible according to their income guidelines.
I now regret having done this. I'm not sure what the problem is, exactly, but there is a breakdown in communication, coordination, and organization somewhere between the farms and NOFA. I'm trapped in an awkward limbo right now because you have to:
1. Apply to NOFA to find out if you can get a subsidized spot for the farm you want. I applied as early as I could for this summer.
2. That's all well and good, except that those farm slots fill up fast! There is only one farm I could find that would work for me, and they are telling me in no uncertain terms that I will lose out on my spot if I don't put up a deposit right now
3. So I have to choose between forfeiting my spot and missing out on CSA again, or pay up and keep my fingers crossed that I'm able to get the subsidy.
4. I call NOFA and they are very, very nice. They say that the problem is that the farm hasn't gotten back to them. So the farm that is being so assertive about getting payment is blowing off NOFA? Are they trying to bypass their commitment by failing to greenlight subsidy applications so that the low-income people will have to drop out when told that they have to pay up or shove off? What the heck?
I'm still hanging in there. I sent in enough money to secure my CSA spot but still have no idea if I will have to pay the full amount for the share or if I can receive the subsidy. My parents have generously said they'd help me pay in full if need be, but I really don't appreciate being put in this position. It's embarrassing enough to have to ask for this kind of assistance to begin with, it's even worse to have it turn into such a headache and have to ask my parents to bail me out.
I was so excited. Now I'm just sad and exasperated.