Become an Organic Angel
An Opportunity to Secure Your CSA Share in Perpetuity
and to Make Angelic Organics Farm More Sustainable
Angelic Organics Farm is excited to once again make memberships available in the Organic Angel Club, offering you, for a one-time fee, an opportunity to provide fresh, organic vegetables and herbs for your family into the far distant future and to make Angelic Organics Farm more sustainable.
The Mad Math of Money
These are strange money times. There is a huge discrepancy between what people receive in interest from their money in the bank, and the interest rate at which banks lend money. The average savings account yields .06% interest today–close to a 0% return. A certificate of deposit might yield 0.2%. A farm operating loan will run close to 6% for what is labeled non-traditional agriculture. You and Angelic Organics can benefit from this spread in interest rates in a significant way through a membership in our Organic Angel Club.
Saving money costs you dearly, due to low interest rates on savings.
Borrowing money costs a farm dearly, due to high interest rates on loans.
Today’s wonky economy makes it so that you, the shareholder, and we, the farm, can both win.
This Offer is for Those with Significant Liquidity
Before you continue reading, this offer is aimed at people who have substantial liquidity—those who have well over $10,000 in liquid assets. I realize that this excludes many who are in need of reasonably priced healthy food, but, still, it seems appropriate for both the farm and the shareholder-of-means to benefit from this offer for the strategic use of capital.
If you Decide to Continue Reading
I have endeavored to be very clear about the Organic Angel Membership Offer, and that has required a lengthy document. I hope you will find it illuminating and inspiring, even if you do not become an Organic Angel.
Become an Organic Angel
Receive a 20-Week Vegetable Share in Perpetuity through a one-time $10,000 Membership Fee (less future share credits) in The Organic Angel Club
Purchase a refundable $10,000 Membership in the Organic Angel Club by Thursday, January 13th, and, for as long as you remain a member of the club, receive a 20-week vegetable share, plus a 4-week extended season vegetable share for free each year in perpetuity, worth $960 in 2022. (The full season share costs less with pre-season discounts, but I’m using the baseline price of $960 for illustration purposes.)
Keep $10,000 in your savings account.
Receive around $6 in interest per year. $6. How is that even possible? But that’s the way it is. You have $10,000 in your savings account and, typically, it generates $6 per year for you in interest.
Or buy a $10,000 Organic Angel Membership and receive $960 in organic vegetables from our farm each year. Receive a $6 return on your $10,000, or a $960 return in vegetables.
If you have $1,000,000 in your savings account…
…and the interest rate on your savings account goes negative, your interest would not buy you a morsel of food. In fact, if your interest rate goes negative, the more you have in your savings account, the further away you will get from being able to buy a CSA share or even a single apple with your interest income. (Might interest rates go negative? Might.)
Also Available—Receive a 10-Week Vegetable Share in Perpetuity through a one-time $6,000 Membership Fee (less future share credits) in The Organic Angel Club
Purchase a refundable $6,000 Membership in the Organic Angel Club by Thursday, January 13th, and for as long as you remain a member of the club, receive a 10-week vegetable share plus a 2-week extended season vegetable share for free each year in perpetuity–worth $480 in 2022. (The half season share costs less with pre-season discounts, but the baseline price of $480 is most suitable for overall evaluation purposes.)
For simplicity of illustration, I am focusing on the full share membership throughout most of this document. However, remember that you also have the option of a half share membership.
You Can Deduct Your 2022 & 2023 Share Payments from Your Organic Angel Membership Payment
Since you are already signed up for your 2022 and 2023 vegetable shares, you can subtract from your Organic Angel membership payment what you have already paid for your 2022 and 2023 vegetable shares. Your pre-paid amount (credit) is included in the introductory email that we sent you. The discount is applicable through Thursday, January 13th, 2022.
Our Decision to Offer the Organic Angel Memberships
We can make back well over our cost of growing your share each year by using your membership fee to make systemic farm improvements that enhance farm efficiency and make the farm more sustainable. In other words, your $10,000 membership fee will enable us to not only supply you with a full season and extended season share every season; it will also provide us with surplus capital to make needed improvements.
Your $10,000 refundable membership fee provides you with a full season share each year in perpetuity. Your $10,000 membership enables the farm to generate more excellence, more sustainability, and more prosperity.
Buy a membership in the Organic Angel Club. Support a hard-working, local, sustainable farm that employs 25-or-so people, and get a fresh, organic vegetable share every year for free.
Support your bank with your savings at close to zero interest, which the bank then lends out, at a high interest rate, to businesses that you know nothing about, that you might not care about, and that you might not even approve of if you knew what they do. Then wonder what to eat.
(Of course, you might have your money in the stock market or Bitcoin, so your return might be very different from what it would be in the money markets or certificates of deposit or savings accounts—the stock market or Bitcoin return is likely to fluctuate.)
The Future of Angelic Organics Farm
Angelic Organics Farm has considerable infrastructure, equipment, systems and year-round employees that help it to be efficient and flexible. However, more efficiencies are needed, if we are going to sustain Angelic Organics Farm in light of rising costs (notably labor and fuel) and increased competition from retail stores. When we started our CSA in 1990, we were one of the few sources of organic vegetables—not so today, with Whole Foods and Walmart promoting organic food and even offering free or heavily discounted home delivery. Enhancing technology, infrastructure and systems at Angelic Organics Farm to remain competitive is our way forward.
Angelic Organics Farm supports many employees and feeds many people. To do this more sustainably, the components of its infrastructure need to be in balance, or in harmony with one another. (For your consideration of scale, I estimate that we have fed well over 250,000 people locally and in the Chicago area since we started growing vegetables over 30 years ago.)
The initial Organic Angel program, launched in 2015, helped the farm considerably to upgrade infrastructure and equipment. Between 2015 and now, we have acquired more efficient seeding, tillage and harvest equipment, installed extensive drainage in our low-lying fields, replaced troublesome (irreparable, dysfunctional) heating and cooling systems, made our farmhouse compliant with government standards for our H-2A workers, and significantly upgraded our greenhouse. Much of this would not have been achieved without the Organic Angel memberships.
There is much more that needs to be done regarding machinery storage, irrigation upgrades, possible solar installations, and the ever expanding regulations for food safety. Year-to-year share sales do not support these systemic upgrades.
Is this farm going to go on forever? Like most people, I, Farmer John, age one year at a time, but I admittedly have aged more years than many by now (same rate as others, different timeframe). However, I am steadfastly transitioning more and more responsibility to my wondrous long-term staff here: Pollo—21 years of service; Victor—11 years of service; and Nathan—8 years of service. I tell them regularly, “You guys astound me day after day with what you accomplish, with usually only a few gestures or words from me for guidance.” They continually remind me of the heights to which human beings can rise. I admire and dearly love them.
Will they take over the farm in my sunset years? I suspect that they will continue to take on more here, with gradually less guidance and input from me. In light of their competence, I am happy to scale back more and more, while still remaining at the helm. I suppose I should add that these employees/friends don’t seem to like it much when I talk about replacing myself with another farmer—admittedly a tall task. They’ll say something like, “not sure I want to work here if you aren’t here, too, John.” I think it hasn’t quite occurred to them yet that they are already gradually replacing me in many areas.
I will also put in a word here for my wife Haidy, who is also aging one year at a time (but she likely has more years of aging ahead than I do.) Haidy is often not well enough to work full-time for the farm, but when she is able, she inspires awe in me for her dedication, competence, thoroughness, strategic consulting, and her extraordinary mastery of both the written and spoken word. (Health note about Haidy—she is gradually getting better, but she is still a long way from well. She has been a true champion in taking on her health challenges.)
The Membership Basics
Become a Full Share Member of the Organic Angel Club by Thursday, January 13th
Receive a Free 20-Week Vegetable Share and a 4-week Extended Season Vegetable Share in Perpetuity, or until your membership is redeemed. (Membership is redeemed when a full refund is granted.)
Refundable Membership Fee: $10,000, less applicable credit noted in your introductory email.
Become a Half Share Member of the Organic Angel Club by Thursday, January 13th
Receive a Free 10-Week Vegetable Share and a 2-week Extended Season Vegetable Share in Perpetuity, or until your membership is redeemed. (Membership is redeemed when a full refund is granted.)
Refundable Membership Fee: $6,000, less applicable credit noted in your introductory email.
An Additional Option for Sustaining the Farm
We considered raising the price of the Organic Angel memberships due to increased production costs, but decided to keep the price the same as when we originally offered the program in 2015. However, you are welcome to pay more for your membership; the additional amount will also be refundable in the future on the same terms for redemption that applies to the basic membership. There is a line on your membership form for this optional added support.
FAQ’s: Terms, Conditions & Clarifications
As mentioned near the top of this document, I only want this offer to be available to shareholders who have a substantial amount of liquidity, so I am requesting a full payment upfront for the membership.
Home Delivery and Fruit Shares
Fruit shares and home delivery are not included in the Organic Angel membership. If you receive home delivery, the farm office will contact you by email before the start of each season to ask you to pay the home delivery fee for the season. Home delivery costs $12 per delivery. If you want to buy a fruit share, please contact the farm office by email prior to the start of each season.
What other privileges will I have as an Organic Angel?
You will receive our utmost respect and appreciation. You will have the satisfaction of supporting a farm that is committed to providing the freshest, most vibrant food possible to our farm community, that is dedicated to taking care of its employees and to rejuvenating the earth.
Farmer John was a child once. Some day, he’ll be gone. How can the farm offer an Organic Angel Membership in perpetuity?
I know I’m not forever, but a farm can be. At least a farm can last a lot longer than the farmer. I plan to have the farm survive me. I’m collaborating with my veteran staff members to structure the farm so that it can continue seamlessly way into the future, even if I am less involved with it, or completely gone from the picture, which, of course, I some day will be.
Can I eventually transfer the membership to my daughter, son, friend, or spouse?
Yes, we love the idea of this continuity. It seems like a perfect legacy—to provide for an ongoing source of nutritious food for a loved one. As mentioned in several places in this document, the share is provided in perpetuity until the membership is redeemed with a full refund. Either the farm or the Organic Angel can make the decision to redeem it. Until then, for years, your membership will provide you, or whomever you designate, with a CSA vegetable share from Angelic Organics Farm, year after year.
Can I gift this membership?
Sure, just let us know to whom you would like to gift it. What a great gift!
Could you offer an analysis in a spreadsheet of the various scenarios you have mentioned, with different interest rates, etc.?
An analysis for deciding whether to purchase a membership can be complicated. I attempted to create various financial scenarios regarding share prices, interest rates, etc., projected over many years in a spreadsheet; however, there are so many prices at which you can buy a share, depending on discounts and the year being considered; there is also variability in current interest rates on savings; there are also unknowns regarding future interest rates. I realize that many people have their money in certificates of deposit, which typically yield higher interest than savings accounts, and there are additional forms of investments and accounts that a shareholder’s money might be parked in that he or she would be comparing to the purchase price of the Organic Angel Membership. So, the spreadsheet idea got too complicated. You might want to create your own spreadsheet to evaluate your own financial scenarios for considering a membership.
The last time we offered the Organic Angel membership program, almost all of the shareholders seemed clear about the offer from its description and either joined or did not join. However, there were a few shareholders that requested scads of information, data, spreadsheets, analyses, etc.—scads. I think the offer is self-explanatory, and you will either join it or you won’t. The future is unknown, but our past and present of 32 years as a Community Supported Agriculture farm devotedly serving hundreds of thousands of shareholders is self-evident.
Might the price of the Organic Angel Memberships go up in the future?
It might. I considered valuing the Full Share Membership at $12,000–even $15,000—and the Half Share Membership at $7500. These membership fees would still provide a tremendous deal in these days of low interest on savings.
What is the Refund Policy?
A minimum commitment of 3 years of membership is required, as the farm needs that much opportunity to put the membership capital into action.
After the first three years of membership, any member is entitled to a refund (though we hope you’ll continue on as a member for much longer than the initial 3 years). Simply request your refund after your 3rd season or more as a member ends, and we will refund your full membership fee within two months of your request. For instance, if you become an Organic Angel this fall, notify the farm of your membership cancellation after the 2024 season ends, and we will refund your membership fee within two months of your notice.
If the price Angelic Organics charges for the memberships goes up or down, members who cancel will receive the price for which they bought their membership, not a higher or lower price that memberships might subsequently sell for.
What if something comes up before the 3 year commitment window you request, and I need to redeem my membership early?
The refund policy is a bit lenient. If you have extenuating circumstances, such as you unexpectedly have to move from our delivery area in the first three years, or you lose your job and you need to redeem your membership fee to cover living expenses, we’ll refund your fee in full within the 3-year commitment window with two months notice. However, if you just decide you’d rather get your vegetables from Whole Foods or a different CSA during those first three years and you request a refund, we won’t be as lenient in refunding your fee—until your 3-year commitment period is up.
What if there is a run on refund requests after the 3-year membership commitment period expires?
We have had very few requests for refunds from the original Organic Angels who signed up between 2015 and 2017, and these were due to changes in life circumstances. That’s an indication of how our Organic Angels have embraced the program.
Can Angelic Organics Farm terminate the membership program?
Angelic Organics Farm reserves the right to terminate this program at any time, and offer full refunds in between harvest seasons to some or all of our Organic Angel Club Members. Why? Because I don’t know the future until it happens. I want to be able to absorb or extricate myself from any surprises that might occur in the future—soaring interest rates, hyperinflation, deflation, depression…the future is not certain. I want to be able to keep the farm in balance by reserving the option to terminate memberships with full refunds at any time in between seasons.
Is this membership fee a loan to the farm? Do you offer a promissory note?
It’s a refundable membership; it’s not a loan, so no promissory note is offered. A loan would require that interest be assigned to the fee for becoming an Organic Angel. If the interest rate were not determined ahead of time, a rate would need to be imputed. Since it’s a membership, there is not a consideration of interest.
Is the membership fee an investment in the farm?
The membership is not an investment. The club member has no management rights; the club member is not involved in decision making for the farm.
Doesn’t that word Angel imply investor, as in angel investor?
We aren’t implying in any way that the term Organic Angel implies angel investor as in financial investor. The name of our farm is Angelic Organics, so the term Organic Angel was just too cute not to use. (Of course, the membership is an emotional investment for many, an ecological investment, an investment in community, sustainability, perhaps a moral investment, and certainly an investment in one’s health…but these do not qualify your membership as a financial investment.)
What sort of receipt or proof of membership will I receive?
Send a signed membership agreement (see below) and a check for the full amount to the farm. Keep a copy of the membership agreement for your records. The record of your check and your signed membership agreement constitute membership in the Organic Angel Club and entitle you to redemption privileges according to the guidelines stated herein.
Still Have Questions?
Thank you for your support and for your consideration of becoming an Organic Angel member of Angelic Organics Farm.
Organic Angel Membership Agreement
To become an Organic Angel, click below for the membership agreement, then mail your signed copy with a check to:
1547 Rockton Road
Caledonia, IL 61011
Put your membership agreement and check in the mail by Wednesday, November 9th.