What is CSA and why is it Beneficial?
What is CSA?
Community-supported agriculture is an alternative, locally based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA could also be a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
History of CSA
The Start of a Great Organization
The term community-supported agriculture was created in the United States in the 1980s, inspired by European agricultural ideas formulated by Rudolf Steiner. Two European farmers, Jan Vander Tuin and Trauger Groh, brought European the idea for CSA to the United States in the mid-1980s. Vander Tuin had co-founded a community-supported agricultural project named Topinambur. This influence led to the separate and simultaneous creation of two CSAs in 1986. These CSA's were the Garden at Great Barrington, and the Temple-Wilton Community Farm.
The CSA System
CSAs generally focus on the production of high quality foods for a local community, using organic or biodynamic farming methods. This kind of farming operates with a lot more involvement of consumers than usual, which results in a stronger consumer-producer relationship. The core design includes developing a consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods. The system has many variations on how the farm budget is supported by the consumers and how the producers then deliver the foods. CSA theory purports that the more a farm embraces whole-farm, whole-budget support, the more it can focus on quality and reduce the risk of food waste.
CSA has many benefits. First would be fresh food. Farms give their members the very best of their produce. CSA members get the best of the best that a farm has to offer. Another would be that it saves money. Most CSA members will save money over a similar amount of quality produce bought at the store or from a farmers market. Also, it saves time. Picking up a box simply takes less time that going to the farmers market or choosing, bagging, and paying for produce at the store. Finally, and most importantly, it gives consumers the knowledge of where their food is coming from and how its being produced. No artificial preservatives, no genetic modification, the food is as fresh as the consumers demand it to be.
Running a Small CSA