Community Supported Agriculture

Project by Sarah Carruthers

The Basics

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a new system for farmers and consumers to do business. Instead of having a grocery store as a middle man, consumers pay their local CSA farm at the beginning of the season. Then, each week throughout the season, they receive a box of seasonal produce and other farm products from the farmer.

Advantages

For the farmer:
  • Spend time marketing food early so that they can focus on growing the food when they need to.
  • Get money early in the season, which helps cash flow.
  • Opportunity to get to know their customers


For the consumer:
  • Get super-fresh food
  • Exposure to new produce that they might otherwise not buy
  • Visits to the farm
  • Developing a relationship with the farmer

Disadvantages

CSA farming is a shared risk investment. If the farmer has a bad crop because of a storm or other reason, you may not be guaranteed your box of produce that week. Most CSA farmers do have an excellent reputation, but things do go wrong on occasion and you may have occasional disappointments. It's important to do research about what to expect from your CSA farm before you invest.