Community Supported Agriculture

by Sarah Heiniger

Community Supported Agriculture (abbreviated CSA) is a practice first started in the 1960's in the countries of Switzerland and Japan, after that it spread to Europe and eventually from Europe to American in the 1980's. Essentially CSA follows one general model: Farmers sell portions of their harvest to local families and the farmers send the families their pre-orders weekly throughout the harvest season. This was farmers receive a steady income throughout the season and local families receive fresh, healthy produce based on their individual preferences. There are many benefits for farmers and families participating in CSA, however there are also some disadvanteges.

Advantages and Disadvantages to CSA

With as little as 2% of american farmers, americans are becoming more and more separated from local farms and it is becoming harder for many families to find fresh produce. CSA is a terrific solution to this problem because in paring up with a farming participating in CSA, families will receive a constant supply of fresh foods. Participating families may also learn about types of produce they wouldn't have known about otherwise. Families also form close relationship with the farmers to they can learn more about the way the crops are produced and they may even get to visit the farm their food is grown on.

The farmers benefit from CSA because they receive their profit spread out throughout the season so it is easier for the to budget their income. They also have an opportunity to get to know their costumers.

However there are some risks one takes when participating in CSA. For example, farmers can't control variables like the weather, and they can never be completely sure that they will meet their quota. If there was a drought and the supply of crops greatly dropped, then the farmer wouldn't be able to supply the family with their weekly crops and there would be a problem at hand. In this case the families are not usually reimbursed for the the crops they already paid for but didn't receive.

Wobbly Cart Farm

One thing all CSAs have in common is their emphasizes on the community. At the heart of all CSAs is the commitment to build strong community bonds while still maintaining their farms nicely. While researching, I came across the blog of Wobbly Cart farm, a small farm in Washington that offers memberships for families looking to participate in a CSA. By just looking at the website it is apparent that the farms strives on hospitality; They welcome everyone to their farm with a vast array of pictures, and they even offer recipes for dishes using produce send out in that weeks shipment. Their blog is a great way to to learn about CSAs from a first hand perspective and it is very interesting to check out. I provided a link below.

How to find CSAs near you

There are many Americans with subscriptions with a CSA, but because the government does not regulate CSAs or keep tract of them, it is hard to know exactly how many Americans have a membership with their own local CSA. If you would like to join a membership with a CSA, below is a link to find local CSA participating farms in Georgia.