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why should you prepay?
The Philly Foodworks prepayment model is based on the values of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In traditional CSA programs, members pay for a share of a farm’s product at the beginning of the season and then receive weekly deliveries of vegetables based on the farmer’s harvest.
The idea of having to pay for goods well before you get them may seem inconvenient, but when customers buy “shares” before the start of the season, that income helps farmers cover their beginning-of-season costs at the time of year when there is a lack of cash flow. Farmers can also use that upfront money to purchase materials in bulk and invest in equipment needed to increase their yields and efficiency for the upcoming growing season. Without prepayments, farmers are often forced to take out traditional bank loans, which can be risky, since farmers’ income is so closely tied to things they cannot control like weather and pest behavior.
The CSA model gives members of the community an opportunity to contribute to the season of crops, thus easing the burden of farmers who survive in such a high-risk―yet essential―profession. Prepayments from CSA members provide farmers with a financial buffer and a lower risk of going into debt if they have a bad growing year. The only downside for CSA members is that the contents of their shares are as abundant or sparse as the growing season, and their prepayment is nonrefundable.
How our prepayment program works
Philly Foodworks’ prepayment program is based on the principles of the CSA model but with much more flexibility and less risk for the customer. When you load a prepayment amount onto your PFW account, we log that exact amount as credits that you can use in the market, and then we transfer the funds to an account that we use to offer our farmers modest loans for small equipment upgrades, farmer education, and early-season costs.
A notable benefit of Philly Foodwork’s prepayment program is that there’s zero risk for customers. In a traditional CSA program, if the weather and growing conditions are poor throughout the season, customers sometimes pay for produce they never get. On the contrary, because Philly Foodworks sources from various small, local farms and has a larger customer base, when you prepay with us, you know you’ll always have a whole market of produce and other food items to choose from. Plus, our farmers become part of our business; when one of them is having a bad growing season, we work with them to troubleshoot for the following season and ensure that they do not go into debt and can survive to farm another season.
See our How We Support page for more information about projects we have financed.
Sign up for prepayments today!
When you set up a new Philly Foodworks account, you’ll be given the option to register for the prepayment program. Already have an account? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to become a prepayment customer.
You can designate prepayment amounts in $100 increments from $100 to $600.
Your prepayment amount will be billed when you place your next order. Any credits not used in that order will remain in your account. Once your account balance drops below $0, you will be automatically billed again for your selected prepayment amount.
To check how many credits you have in your account, log in and click on Account Activity. Below your delivery address, you’ll see the words: “Current Balance as of This Week.” If the number there is negative, this means you have credits to spend. If you see a positive number, this means you owe us money for a previous order.
If you need to cancel your Philly Foodworks account or stop prepayments at any time, you have the option of getting a refund for all remaining credits or donating them to our SNAP share program. To cancel prepayments, email us at email@example.com.