Community Supported Agriculture

Chuanbo Pan

What is CSA?

  • CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture
  • Popular with consumers: they can buy directly from the farmer (LocalHarvest, 2012)
  • A trade-off: Consumers pay by buying a "share" and in turn get fresh produce! (LocalHarvest, 2012)
  • CSA strives to help improve the quality and health of consumers' food by allowing consumers to choose foods that have not been tainted with herbicides and pesticides (Biodynamic, 2013).
  • CSA allows for "economically stable operations", which then allows the for the preservation of small private farms and equipment (RIT International, 2013).

History of CSA - The World Responds to Urbanization (Fairshare, 2013)

The foundation of CSA comes from when people enjoyed food from the land and ate with the seasons; it comes from when people ate balanced meals and healthy meals. During the early 1960's the backbone of the present CSA was formed when certain nations (specifically Germany, Switzerland, and Japan) decided to form organizations in response to urbanization; urbanization decreased the amount of arable land, which could be non-beneficial for some nations.

Japan's "CSA" is a perfect example of this response. Japan already had a small land mass, and a lot of old farmlands were being converted into urban centers. Although it is not called CSA, the Japanese movement (called Teiki) was formed to help handle the fine line between agriculture and urbanization. Another similar organization, called the Seikatsu Club, helped "supply food to more than 22 million people".

In 1986, CSA was first implemented in the USA. The movement quickly spread throughout the fifty states. Right now, there are over 12,000 affiliated farms that strive to serve fresh food for every state.

Benefits for Farmers

Benefits for Consumers

CSA and the Community

  • CSA ensures that the everyone can have equal access to the best food. This includes people of low income (Biodynamic, 2013).
  • CSA helps reeducate the population about nutrition (Biodynamic, 2013).
  • CSA instructs the next generation of farmers to ensure that then can continue to produce good food for the next generation (Biodynamic, 2013).
  • Economics are strengthened (RTI International, 2013).
  • Farmland is sustained and kept active (RTI International, 2013).

How CSA Actually Works

As stated above, CSA is a trade-off. You, as the consumer, pay a subscription, and in return, you are able to get fresh foods. The farmers then use this money to support their farms (Biodynamic, 2012). CSA is also a "shared risk" investment (LocalHarvest, 2012). If crops fail, or are damaged due natural causes, the members will not only have less food, but they will also not be reimbursed for their losses (LocalHarvest, 2012).

CSA and the Environment

Healthy plants require healthy conditions (Biodynamic, 2013). In order to allow this to happen, CSA promotes "healthy soil" (Biodynamic, 2013). In order for this to happen, CSA helps to promote the environmental awareness of individuals to protect the earth we live on. CSA also helps promote the reduction of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and anything else that could possibly harm the environment by either runoff or seeping into the groundwater reservoir (Biodynamic, 2013).


LocalHarvest. (2012). Community Supported Agriculture. Retrieved from

Fairshare. (2013). History of CSA. Retrieved from

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. (2013). Community Supported

RTI international. (2013). CSA-About Community Supported Agriculture. Retrieved from