OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Convenient CSA Meal Subscriptions

Want to eat fresh food from your local farm, but worried about figuring out how to use the mystery box of produce that arrives weekly with your typical CSA (community supported agriculture) share (and which you often have to supplement with additional grocery shopping trips)? CSA Meal Subscriptions combine the fresh taste, organic health, and delightful surprise of local food with the convenience of ready-made meals. And on top of that, you’re supporting regional agriculture while minimizing environmentally harmful food miles.

Photo of Vincent Cheng
30 17

Written by

We provide 3 packaging options for your meal subscription:

1) “Master Chef”: Your produce arrives whole and intact, ready for your culinary genius. Suggested recipe options (of varying complexity) are provided.

2) "Convenience Cook": Your ingredients arrive pre-measured, pre-cut, and with simple step-by-step instructions. It’s like having a personal cooking prep assistant.

3) "Busy Diner": Your fresh meals arrive pre-cooked and ready to eat in reusable containers. Simply pop them in the oven or microwave, bring them to warm up at work or school, or store them in your fridge for future use.

GETTING STARTED: To sign up online, you simply choose your packaging option, food preferences (i.e. vegetarian, food allergies, etc.), the # of meals you need in a week, the # of people eating each meal, and weekly drop off location of your choice (including your home or work). During delivery by our electric-powered refrigerated truck fleet, containers are also collected for reuse and organic scraps are picked up for composting.

GROUP DISCOUNTS: We provide volume discounts and group payment options for joint deliveries, so you can group together to share the bounty and better value. You can get together with your neighbors or apartment building, your church could pool together to distribute deliveries after worship, your school’s Parent Teacher’s Association could organize after-school pickups (when parents are picking up their kids), or your communal kitchen could subscribe for its members to prepare meals together.

ONLINE RESOURCES: And you can use our online directory/mapping to add and search for current groups and individuals looking to join groups, as well as learn more about the farms and farmers that grew your produce (including scheduling visits for say picking your own fruit or buying direct), nutritional & growing info, etc.

FUTURE CONVENIENCE: As local food becomes the norm, we also plan to provide CSA Meal vending machines (& container/organic scrap collection points) in convenient places you already visit like subway stations. The graphics & information on these vending machines will also further spread awareness and knowledge about local food.

Brought to you by your local organic farmers’ cooperative and the chef of **top-rated area restaurant that sources from these farms**.

Note: this is a concept, and as far as I know, not a pre-existing business. Also, though these ready-made packages can also be provided through supermarkets (as a large pre-existing channel), by delivering more directly to consumers the farmer can receive more of the profits, consumers may benefit from lower prices, and the direct matching of supply and demand minimizes food waste. At scale, this can also result in a lower carbon footprint across the total delivery chain.

Image Attributions: Salad To Go (, Prepped Ingredients (, Whole Produce (


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mohammad

Wow. It's a fantastic business. You combined too many beautiful things together, made jobs and relived many parents, teachers, individuals and maybe orgs and communities like schools who are worry about their healthy foods and in other side, their lack of time and skills.

I guess your described business can start its job from some social communities and organizations like schools and hospitals. these two kind of institutions mostly try to serve good services for their users, they are try to be careful about social needs and seems to welcome this CSA model for their dining. this CSA model can suggest to schools some country side tours (like many inspirations here that suggested it) and beside serving fresh-local-tasty foods during trip, they will offer comprehensive course-experience on agriculture and bio-diversity to students and make them aware about what they eat. they also can offer to hospitals or other healthcare systems some local-traditional food-medicines (of course under supervision of hospital's doctors).

I liked your details. It is fun and also important and i'm sure setting up this kind of business need huge attention to these very very simple, creative and important details. Brilliant.


Photo of Galen

What do you all think of Cook! SF? Check out their reviews on Yelp as well, to get a sense of some of the challenges a business like this might face. I really like this idea, but I think you would have customers who expect the same level of service/quality as a restaurant but at the price point of groceries.

Photo of Vincent

Hi Galen, thanks so much for the link to CookSF! Looks like their model is similar to the "Convenience Cook" option in this concept's 3 option approach. Agreed that it's a good model to study, and the overall Yelp rating (4 out of 5 stars, based on 30 reviews) demonstrates that there's promise!

Also, agreed that your concerns about price & service/quality expectations are very valid. That's why it's important to 1) provide a menu of options (e.g. a lower-priced "Master Chef" & an ultimate-convenience "Busy Diner", flexibility on # of meal per week, etc.) to meet different people's needs, 2) communicate clearly what's provided so that initial perception is validated by the experience, and 3) ensure your operational back-end is strong enough to deliver the promised quality.

View all comments