Benefits of CSA's

By: Addison Stewart

What is a CSA?

CSA, otherwise known as Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

How does it work?

There is four main types of CSAs that have been developed:

  • Farmer managed: A farmer sets up and maintains a CSA, recruits subscribers, and controls management of the CSA.
  • Shareholder/subscriber: Local residents set up a CSA and hire a farmer to grow crops, shareholders/subscribers control most management.
  • Farmer cooperative: Multiple farmers develop a CSA program
  • Farmer-shareholder cooperative: Farmers and local residents set up and cooperatively manage a CSA.

Growth

It all started in 1986, and there were only two Community Supported Agriculture initiatives in the USA: Indian Line Farm, in western Massachusetts, and the Temple-Wilton community Farm in southern New Hampshire. But not long after that, as the CSA concept spread across America and around the world. Today, there are currently over 6,000 CSAs in the US, possibly as many as 6,500. Meanwhile, the trend of growth continues onward and upward.

Benefits

-Increased variety of produce

- variety of package offerings are designed to meet individual or family needs.

  • -Creates a connection between the grower volunteers and where food comes from.
  • -New knowledge about sustainable farming practices.
  • -Brings generations and communities together.
  • -Environmentally friendly.
    • Growing practices may contain low or no pesticides and hormones.
    • There is very little travel cost/emissions compared to shipping food hundreds or thousands of miles.
    • Growers maybe interested in reusing plastic bags, boxes or egg cartons, which leads to more ways of being involved.