Community Supported Agriculture

What it means for you

What is it?

According to dictionary.com, Community Supported Agriculture, shortened to CSA, is "a system by which people purchase a share from a local farm and periodically receive vegetables and other agricultural products throughout the season."


People in CSA often make other products available as well, such as homemade breads and locally grown fruits (Community Supported Agriculture).


How does it help the consumer?

There are lots of benefits to CSA. It is a great way to get fresh vegetables that have a lot more nutrition than those purchased at a produce store. Not only that, but consumers have a direct link with the person that grows there food! By supporting CSA, there is a greater sense of community because everyone who takes part knows they are looking forward to the same foods as everyone else (Community Supported Agriculture). Often times consumers will actually be able to go on the farm and may even be able to participate in deciding what is grown. There is an active role between farmer and consumer (1996). Consumers can also become more educated on seasonal fruits and be more connected to how the land naturally produces crops (The Benefits of...). Farmers often grow their foods organically and use healthy soil, leading to healthy and delicious foods (An introduction to CSA).

How does it help farmers?

By participating in CSA, farmers are able to market their foods much earlier in the year. They are also able to get paid early and have a guarantee of income even if their harvest is somewhat lacking (Community Supported Agriculture). Farmers are also able to communicate more with other farmers in the area and work together with them (The Benefits of...)

Are there any risks?

Unfortunately, farming is not a path that guarantees 100% outcome every time. Sometimes there are poor seasons and not much to harvest. If this is the case, consumers will not receive as much or any of what they hoped to get, even though they have already paid. The upside to this though is that the community will all go through this together and can just look forward to the next successful harvest (Community Supported Agriculture).

Sources

Community Supported Agriculture. Local Harvest. Retrieved from http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.


Community Supported Agriculture: An Introduction to CSA. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. Retrieved from: https://www.biodynamics.com/content/community-supported-agriculture-introduction-csa.


1996. Community supported agriculture: growing food... and community (Research Brief #21). Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Retrieved from http://www.cias.wisc.edu/farm-to-fork/community-supported-agriculture-growing-foodand-community/.


The Benefits of Community Supported Agriculture. Making Local Food Work. Retrieved from http://www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk/about/csa/BenefitsofCSA.cfm.