Community Supported Agriculture
An Alternative Farming Method
Aakash Setty- AP Environmental Science
What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
CSA is an alternative method to conventional farming. In this method, there is a mutual benefit between a specific community of people/investors and the farmers. The community pledges its support to the farmer and supports them economically in return for shares of crops over the season.
How does this relate to the environment?
CSA builds towards sustainability and has ecological benefits. This style of farming is on a local level where a community has a local farm. This encourages more small owners to run farms. This is important to increasing food volume as small farms in areas not feasible for commercial farming increase the total crop production of the nation. Ecologically, this direct-to-consumer relation means that there is no wastage on packaging, fuel for transport and emissions. Additionally, because this farming is on a small scale, farmers can take extra care about their farms. The food prepared by these farms are often organic and use environmentally friendly methods such as using 'green manure'. All this could not happen on a large scale commercial farm where generating large profits and maintaining large margins are a priority.
How does the CSA support farmers?
Farmers are benefitted from this arrangement. First of all, they get economic security, as their salary is often paid by the community as a term of the arrangement. This encourages farmers to continue their profession. Additionally, it gives them working capital quite early on in the season because they have these guaranteed customers which is better than waiting for midseason when crop yields are finally large enough to be sold.