The CSA Concept
Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is a means for a direct connection to be made between the eater and the grower.
In the CSA model, individuals become members of a farm. In joining the farm for the season, they commit to buying a share of the farm’s production, which means paying a set dollar amount for the year. The veggie share entitles the member to receive regularly scheduled fresh vegetables grown at their farm over the course of the season, while Choice shares include a much more wide ranging selection of foodstuffs. Farmers provide newsletters, or better yet in person interaction, that keep members connected to the farm, their food, and helps to educate eaters on how to use foods with recipes and storage tips. CSA’s often have events throughout the growing season where members can come and meet their farmer and see the land that nourishes their food.
This model has great advantages for both the member and the farmer. Members get access to a wide variety of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables and meats. They get to know their farmer and develop a deeper connection with their food. Members will bask in those really great years, and help to bare the blow of a really tough year. Farmers have the funds needed at the beginning of the season to buy their seeds and pay for their labor without needing to take out risky loans. Being able to directly market to their members also allows farmers to receive the full portion of profit for the food they grow, keeping the small family farm alive and thriving.