Community Supported Agriculture
Let's Grow Together
Getting the Ball Rolling
There are a few variations of the concept, but it typically works as follows:
At the onset of the season, shares are made available to the community. These shares involve a financial investment of the community's consumers into the local farm. As the season and harvests progress, produce is made available by the farmers to those with a share. Often, this is in the form of a vegetable box, as pictured.
Although originally a European notion simultaneously occurring in Japan, the method of alternative agriculture has blossomed in America. There are CSA groups distributed all over the nation, spreading the benefits to as many communities as will welcome them.
More Than Just Produce... Depending on the CSA group there may be:
A Fitter America
In the process outlined in CSA, organic goods are guaranteed. Thanks to a personal relationship with the responsible agrarians, a shareholder can know exactly how their food was grown, regarding pesticides, methodology, etc. The "vegetable boxes" and harvested goods are by definition fresh and healthy. The farmer-consumer dynamic is revolutionary to health and diet.
Furthermore, certain farms will give shares based on time spent as a farmhand. If an individual contributes to the farming, then not only are they provided with a healthy compensation, but they also are participating in exercise that is sure to improve their lifestyles.
The farmers are protected financially regardless of the harvest. If seasonal conditions limit the output of the farm, they have already been paid a set amount. They divvy up the products as they can, without having to fear about sustaining themselves for the next year's planting and harvesting.
Consumers are protected regardless of the market price of goods. If prices rise on a product, they are not impacted because of the standard cost of a share. They will receive what they have paid for in advance, far at the advantage of those subject to economic fluctuations.
Such is the benefit of "subscription farming" to both parties.
Furthermore, the community benefits as a whole, independent of foreign markets and capable of self-sustaining.
A Truer Sense of Community
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) | Ecovian. (n.d.). Ecovian | Green Living & Environmental Community. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://www.ecovian.com/csa
Community Supported Agriculture. (n.d.).Home | National Agricultural Library. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
McFadden, S. (n.d.). Part I: Community Farms in the 21st Century: Poised for Another Wave of Growth?. Rodale Institute, Leaders in Organic Solutions for Global Warming, Famine Prevention, and Nutrition since 1947. Retrieved September 5, 2013, from http://www.newfarm.org/features/0104/csa-history/part1.shtml