Community Supported Agriculture

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What is CSA?

CSA is Community-Supported Agriculture, also known as Community-Shared Agriculture. The CSA system focuses on a local economic way of producing food through agriculture. Members of a CSA pay a fee at the beginning of the season and receive a weekly allotment of fruits and veggies (and others), often delivered in a box.

History of CSA

Inspired by Rudolf Steiner, CSA began in the United States (but was influenced by Europe) in the 1980s. The practice grew until the founding of CSA North America in 1992. The practice grows to this day, and at the moment there are over 13000 CSA farms in North America. CSA is even becoming popular in areas like New York City. The ideas of CSA have also spread to Central and Eastern Europe.

Structure

CSA has a focus on using organic and biodynamic farming to produce high quality food for a lower population. This sort of relationship builds stronger farmer-customer bonds and greater community relationships. There are four main types of CSAs:

  1. Farmer managed: A farmer starts up, recruits, and controls a CSA
  2. Shareholder/Subscriber: Local residents start a CSA and hire farmers
  3. Farmer cooperative: Multiple farmers start and maintain a CSA
  4. Farmer-shareholder cooperative: Farmers and local residents start and maintain a CSA

Ideology and Purpose

There are three main goals of CSAs:

  1. New forms of property ownership: Land should be held and maintained by a community
  2. New forms of cooperation: Human relationships should replace the hierarchy of employees/employers
  3. New forms of economy: Economy shouldn't be about profit, but the needs of the people and the land