Dustin Bajer, Community Supported Forestry (CSF), Shrubscriber

Community Supported Forestry (CSF)

Community In The Shape of a Forest

If you could plant or gift a tree, would you? What would a tree subscription look like? What if we could work together to cultivate a food-secure, climate-resilient, and biodiverse future through community tree growing and planting?

A New CSA. From Vegetables to Trees Subscription

Community Supported Agriculture models (CSAs) have been around for decades, allowing customers to subscribe to a regular delivery of fresh, locally-produced food throughout the growing season. CSA benefits include:

  • Ensuring a consistent, reliable income stream for farmers.
  • Providing a consistent supply of fresh, in-season produce to customers.
  • Building meaningful relationships between growers and consumers.
Dustin Bajer, Community Supported Forestry, Shrubscribers at the Edmonton Urban Farm
Community Supported Forestry, Shrubscribers at the Edmonton Urban Farm Urban Tree Nursery

Is Community Supported Forestry much different? Swapping vegetables for trees still offers many of the same benefits for farmers and consumers. The difference, in my mind, is that trees are long-term crops with long-term benefits. While trees can produce food, they aren’t considered consumables in the same way vegetables are.

In short, Community Supported Forestry is the collective propagating, distribution, planting, and tending of a biodiverse, climate-adapted tree canopy.

Here’s a Map of Alberta CSAs curated by Alberta Open Farm Days.

“What does a tree subscription look like for someone who doesn’t have room for a tree?

It looks like supporting a community of local tree farmers and the planting of trees throughout communities in need.”

Forest Supported Community

Unlike vegetables, which are generally annual plants, trees can live for decades or millennia. You can plant beans every spring, but a honeylocust tree in the bean family can live for 150 years, produce edible pods, mitigate extreme heat through shade and evapotranspiration, build soil, clean the air, and support pollinators. And at the end of its life? You get furniture.

The big difference between Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and Community Supported Forestry (CSFs) is that most people don’t have access to land and, if they do, have a finite amount of space for trees. So, what does a tree subscription look like for someone who doesn’t have room for a tree? It looks like supporting a community of local tree farmers and planting trees throughout communities in need. It looks like local climate research and action. It’s identifying communities that could most benefit from tree planting and then working with members of those communities to get trees in the ground.

Trees are incredible climate adaptation and mitigation tools for homeowners and communities, but not everyone has the financial capital, know-how, or awareness to plant a tree. Trees have superpowers; the right tree in the right place can reduce energy use by as much as 25%. A community of urban tree growers adopting a Community Supported Forestry (CSF) model could grow and plant tens of thousands of trees each year.

Dustin Bajer, Shrubscriber, Edmonton Urban Heat Island Map
Shrubscriber.com, Edmonton Urban Heat Island Map

Shrubscriber.com

I started Shrubscriber (Shrub-scriber) in 2021 to share my love of trees and find homes for the hundreds of seedlings I grew in my backyard.

Shrubscriber offers three CSF subscriptions, funding 3, 6, or 12 trees per year. Members receive access to courses, community events, and a growing tree growers and planters network.

A Community of Tree Farmers

I was surprised to learn how members were interested in propagating trees in their homes, apartments, balconies, and backyards. That’s why, shortly after launching, Shrubscriber created the Community Propagation Course, a step-by-step propagation course with seeds for all students.

In 2022, we extended our propagation lessons to classrooms with our Classroom Propaagtiopn Course. The course is free for schools and is made possible by our subscribers. Send me a message if you’re a teacher and want to grow trees with your students,

Learn more, get involved, and support climate-resilient communities at Shrubscriber.com.