Community Supported Agriculture

(CSAs)

What Are They...And How do They Work?

CSAs provide a way for consumers to buy fresh products from local farmers using a subscription. On a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, consumers will receive a random assortment of farmed goods in a box. The foods that the farmers provide are always according to season. These CSAs are growing in popularity because eating locally grown and freshly harvested foods is healthier than buying processed food from massive farms across the country. The farmers benefit too because they are able to earn more money earlier in the season, and they also have steady flow of customers and money throughout the season. Consumers also have the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to buy from a farmer that uses pesticides, but most farmers participating in a CSA are dedicated to provide organic products. The shareholders and the famers share the risks in this system because they both gain if the farm provides large yields, but they both lose if the farm does not yield many crops in a given season.

History and Types

The idea of CSAs began in Europe and was later brought to the United States in the late 80s. When the idea first arrived in the United States, the majority of CSAs remained in the New England area.



Farmer Managed - When the farmer maintains the CSA and is in charge of involving shareholders.

Shareholder/Subscriber - The shareholders hire the farmers and the shareholders run most of the CSA.

Farmer Cooperative - A group of farmers get together and run the CSA (my family gets produce from this kind of CSA! The produce is so much better than what you can buy at the grocery store!)

Farmer-shareholder cooperative - Sellers and consumers take an equal role in running the CSA.

Benefits

  • CSAs help your local community.
  • They can lead to a healthier lifestyle free from the use of harmful pesticides and toxins in your diet.
  • The food tastes a lot better than what you can buy at your grocery store.
  • You know exactly where your food is coming from.
  • You know and can trust the person from whom you are getting your food.
  • Develops a sense of community.
  • Better for the environment.