Bookmark and Share July 15, 2010 - Dave Mulder

Looking for a Summer job? Start a CSA

While most teenagers spend their Summer relaxing or working part-time in retail, one young adult in Michigan is doing something different.

Alexandra Rau works in her garden

Alexandra Rau (14 years old) of Petersburg, Michigan, turned her backyard garden into CSA (community-supported agriculture). Her small farm has 14 subscribers who receive batches of freshly-picked produce for two months.

“I wanted to have my own farm stand out in my front yard,” Alexandra says at the kitchen table, looking sideways at her mother while drinking a tall glass of chocolate milk from a nearby dairy. “My mom thought it wasn’t the best idea because of the road we live on,” which is narrow and fairly fast. “She’d been learning about the C.S.A. aspect, so she told me about it, and I really liked the idea. I liked that it was on my own schedule, so I could kind of pick what I wanted, ’cause it is still my summer,” she adds, finally sounding like a teenager, “and I don’t want to, like, you know, be busy every single minute of the day.”

Alexandra is certainly not making bank. After seed and planting expenses, her take for the Summer will be right in line with what her friends are making at other jobs.

But in my opinion, she’s adding a lot more to the community and the families her backyard supports than she would be hawking ice cream at the local chocolate shop.

Thanks to the New York Times for this piece.

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