Community Supported Agriculture

What exactly is CSA?

"In basic terms, CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support."(DeMuth1993) Community Supported Agriculture is a system in which the farm is supported by "shareholders". These shareholders are people within the community willing to share both the risks and benefits of food production. When a consumer buys a share, in return they receive seasonal produce throughout the season. It has become a very popular way for consumers to get local food directly from the farmer."CSA is an alternative to the industrial food system that he thought placed too much emphasis on profits and chemicals, at the expense of human and ecological health."(Burnham2012)

Q: What's a CSA? A: Community Supported Agriculture

How does it work?

Ideally, the model builds community and personal connections around food. (Burnham 2012) Members of the CSA, pay their money or buy their share at the beginning of planting season. This payment covers the farmer's salary and the cost to operate the farm. Throughout the growing season, shareholders receive a share or part of the crops produced. Buying a share also means being part of the risk. A bad harvest will mean that you will not receive that crop. CSA's cut out the middle man to allow the best price for both the consumer and the farmer.

Community Supported Agriculture.

What's in it for the consumer?

In a CSA, the consumer is able to develop an actual relationship with the farmer who grows their food and consumers are able to see how food is grown. Shareholders are able to partake in ultra-fresh food, with all the vitamin benefits. CSA also creates a sense of community. Sometimes apprenticeships are even offered to the youth, to learn the skills of farming.

What's in it for the farmer?

The farmer gets the opportunity to meet the people who eat the food that's grown. Also farmers receive better prices for their crops. Consumers are willing to pay for fresh quality produce. CSA also gets rid of the burden of marketing that farmers usually have to do in able to sell their crops.


Demuth, S. 1993. Defining community supported agriculture. USDA National Agricultural Library. Retrieved from http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csadef.shtm

Burnham, T. 2012. What is community supported agriculture. The Salt. Retrieved from


Did You Know?

  • The first CSA's were started in 1965, when Japanese mothers became concerned about the rise of imported food.
  • There are approximately 1000 CSA's in North America
  • Tens of thousands of families are apart of CSA

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