Fostering mutually supportive relationships
Our mission at Tucson CSA is to connect and support local producers and consumers of naturally and sustainably grown and produced seasonal foods.
The vision of the Tucson CSA is to serve as a dependable marketplace and as a valuable community resource for local producers and consumers working towards food education and equity within the Tucson community.
Our Core Values
Tucson CSA was founded by Philippe Waterinckx, who met Farmer Frank of Crooked Sky Farms while he and Daniela Diamente were conducting a graduate research project at the University of Arizona. Philippe’s conviction to start a Community Supported Agriculture program and make local organic produce more accessible to Tucsonans was so strong that he started Tucson CSA on his back porch in 2004. Membership at Tucson CSA quickly grew, and soon Philippe moved operations to our current location at the Historic Y. Sara Jones joined Philippe as the second staff member and, with her extensive farming and cooking experience, quickly became an irreplaceable stalwart. At one point soon after Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma was published, there were over 700 Tucson CSA members. At this point weekly pickups had to be relocated from our small indoor space to the beautiful Historic Y Courtyard, which so wonderfully hosted Tucson CSA volunteers, veggies, members, and visiting musicians.
Although Tucson CSA originally only offered produce subscriptions, its offerings began to expand over the years – some (like coffee) were short lived, while others like Barrio Bread became a staple. Eventually the front room of the CSA (known interchangeably as the Cantina, Front Desk, or CSA Shop, depending on what year you joined Tucson CSA) became a small store stocked with basics like pasture-raised meats, cheese, honey, beans, and more. In 2015 we began working with Sleeping Frog Farms to source produce for our Wednesday CSA shares, which has helped us to diversify our offerings and support more local farmers. When Philippe stepped back in 2018, Shelby Thompson joined Sara to help run operations. Over the last few years we faced several challenges (retiring farmers, an egg hiatus, and a pandemic, to name a few!) that were largely overcome because of the community that exists around us – our volunteers, members, and food producers who continually amaze and support us. Presently, we continue supporting local agriculture as we take on other challenges like food insecurity and food justice. With the addition (and return) of Daniela Diamente in 2020 as our third co-director, we feel prepared to honor Tucson CSA’s history as we continue to make Tucson a better city for all.
Sara has been at the Tucson CSA since 2005 and has created many of the recipes in the online archive and has also taught cooking classes and coordinated cooking demos at the CSA. Sara’s familiarity with farm operations comes from living and working on dozens of farms in Japan, Spain, Canada and the Southwest and she has a wide array of culinary experience working with caterers, restaurants and nonprofit groups in Tucson. In her free time, she can be found riding her bike enjoying the Tucson weather or lost among stacks of books.
Shelby moved to Tucson in 2010 and has called it home ever since. Her favorite hobbies are cooking, baking bread, and going for hikes with her husband Conor and two dogs, Cola and Benji. Shelby’s job at the CSA is to help connect CSA members with their food and farmers. She creates the newsletter, records cooking videos, and manages our social media accounts. Most of all, she loves talking about food and can’t wait to hear about your recipes and food traditions!
Daniela believes in the capacity of all people, especially youth, to be healthy, engaged and good people. Daniela met Farmer Frank of Crooked Sky Farms back in 2003 when she and Philippe were conducting UA graduate research for the Community Food Bank, which led to the birth of Tucson CSA. After over a decade of volunteering and unloading the produce behind the scenes, Daniela has returned as the owner in a co-leadership role to join forces with Sara and Shelby. Daniela is thrilled to be able to apply her extensive experience as an executive leader, entrepreneur, and community advocate to the continued growth of Tucson CSA. She loves to cook and share good food with family and friends, ride bikes, and move every way you can, especially with her husband and their 12-year-old son.