Community Supported Agriculture: A Direct Connection to Your Food

In the age of information at your fingertips, we’ve learned many things about the foods we eat—the good and the bad.

We’ve learned that fresh is healthier and usually tastes better. We’ve learned that pesticides and preservatives are negatively impacting our health. And we’ve learned that buying local makes economic and environmental sense (consider distribution costs and transportation needs).

Having this knowledge has empowered us to learn more about the foods we eat and take control of where we buy our food. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) directly connects you to your food and the farmer who is growing it.

CSA
Community Supported Agriculture lets you know exactly how and where your food is grown. In a typical CSA model, members partner with a local farmer to purchase a share of the farm. Members pay a fee/subscription in advance of the growing season. In return, they receive regular distribution/delivery of the crops. Both parties share the benefits and risk of food production, and the farm essentially becomes community-owned. Produce tends to be the main purchasing option for CSA, but some farms may offer eggs, meat, dairy, flowers or baked goods.

Benefits
Thanks to an advance payment structure, farmers can more accurately gauge their demand. This helps secure better crop prices, gain financial security and learn who is eating the food that’s grown. Members benefit from fresh food, farm visits, better prices, knowing how their food is grown (and who is growing it) and being exposed to new fruits and veggies (and new recipes, too!). As a whole, CSA strengthens local communities economically and socially.

History
The first American CSA started in 1985 with Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts. But the original concept—known as Teikei—started in Japan (late ‘60s to early ‘70s) as a response to chemicals being used in agriculture, an increase in imported foods, loss of farmland to development and farmers migrating to cities.

Find a CSA
To learn more about Community Supported Agriculture or to find farms in your area, LocalHarvest and AgMap are good places to start.

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