Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a production and marketing model whereby consumers buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance. Consumers become CSA members by paying an agreed amount at the beginning of the growing season, either in one lump sum or in installments.
Most CSA groups receive all their produce from one farm, with often an option to buy additional shares for eggs, meat, fruit or cheese, all from one farm to each category. This gives you a window into a typical growing season for a small, often family-run farm business.
In a workplace CSA, employees sign on as a group, and the farmer is able to deliver boxes directly to your place of business for convenient pick up. Employers can offer incentives or educational opportunities to encourage employees to participate.
Bottom Line: Joining a CSA is a wonderful way to support local agriculture and buy fresh and affordable produce, but it's a big commitment. If you're new to buying local foods, you may want to start by shopping at your local farmers' market or farm stand weekly before signing up for a CSA.
The program cost varies farm to farm, but the average tends to be between $300 and $500 for about four months (however, there are CSAs that cost much more and some that are less). Summer CSA programs typically begin in May or June and extend into September.
One of the biggest downsides of joining a CSA is that you are taking the risk that the season may not be plentiful. If this happens, you may get less than your money's worth. That's part of the deal; you're basically buying a share of the farmer's bounty; if it's a good year, everyone's happy.
Just as the community can have positive influences on a farm's environmental stewardship, CSA farms can have a positive influence on families' environmental practices. A common problem for new CSA farm shareholders is that they are not used to eating as many vegetables as their share provides.
A CSA, or community-supported agriculture organization, allows farmers to sell “shares” of their produce to people looking for a ready supply of fresh vegetables throughout the season. CSAs can be profitable for the farmer, and beneficial for the member, but getting them off the ground takes work.
And it's www.LocalHarvest.org. This is a website where farmers can list their farm and their CSA. And because it's free, most farmers use it. If you want to find out what CSAs are in your zip code, this is the place to go.
A CSA Co-Op Drop Site is when a community of people organize to receive a group delivery of local organic produce from small organic farmers at their organization.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. The CSA Directory lists farm or network/association of multiple farms that offer consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis.
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is so much more than just buying vegetables. Like the name suggests, a CSA membership gives community members the chance to have a direct relationship with their farmers and the land where their food is grown. A CSA membership works like a farm subscription.
To qualify for the CSA certification, and to use the CSA designation, individuals must meet the following requirements:
The CSA mark on your product means it has been tested against applicable North American standards requirements. CSA marks are found on a wide variety of North American products: electrical and electronic, gas-fired, personal protective equipment and many more.
The modern CSA originated in Japan. In 1971, Teruo Ichiraku (1906–1994), a philosopher and a leader of agricultural cooperatives, alerted consumers to the dangers of the chemicals used in agriculture and set off the movement for an organic agriculture.
1. Community Supported Agriculture defined: CSA is a direct marketing partnership between a farmer or farmers and a committed network of community supporters/consumers who help to provide a portion of a given farm's operating budget by purchasing “shares” of the season's harvest in advance of the growing season.
Share prices vary from CSA to CSA. Shares are sold as full shares, which feed 2 to 5 people, and half shares, which feed 1 to 3 people. Prices range from $200 to $500 per season.
By supporting community farms, local communities can invest directly in their food system, secure farmland for the future, help create sources of healthy, locally-produced food, and enjoy social, economic, environmental, and agricultural benefits.
Large farms, or groups of farms under the same ownership, may be called an estate. Conversely, a small farm surrounding the owner's dwelling is called a smallholding and is generally focused on self-sufficiency with only the surplus being sold.
Urban agriculture can lead to noise, odors, and water runoff. It can be energy-intensive, cause food safety concerns, and be unsightly. There are also some inherent drawbacks to urban farms in an environmental sense. For instance, cities can't grow, at least in any practical sense, extensive crops.