What does it mean?
With the ?rst day of spring just around the corner it’s time to think about local produce, (hold my heart back from bursting) Farmer’s Markets and (our buzz word of the day) CSAs. In this issue we’ll cover what a CSA is and what it means to you.
ALRIGHT, WHAT IS A CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct connection between farmers and the consumers. CSA members pay a membership fee to cover the production costs at the farm.
IF I BECOME A CSA MEMBER WHAT DO I GET?
When you join a CSA you buy a share of the season’s harvest from a farm where you are able to connect with the farmer growing the food that you eat. Throughout the season, the CSA community receives a weekly box of that the farm’s harvest.
Ultimately, CSA programs create “agriculture- supported communities” where members receive a wide variety of foods harvested at their peak of freshness, ripeness, vitamin and mineral content.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO GET IN MY WEEKLY HARVEST BOX?
Each farm varies but consumers receive a variety of freshly picked, (usually organic) vegetables grown and distributed in an economically viable and ecologically responsible manner. Some farms also offer fruit, herbs, ?owers and other products, such as meats, eggs, cheese, and baked goods.
HOW GO I GET MY HARVEST?
Many of the local CSAs will deliver to several convenient area locations, but they always encourage the community to come to the farm, and even to participate in the growing of their food.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A CSA?
You can ?nd a CSA near you by going to buylocalpa.org, typing in your zip code and then entering the word
CSA in the ?eld “tell us what you are trying to ?nd…” Localharverst.org is also a good source for locating
a CSA near you.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CSAS?
There are many kinds of CSA farms. All include payment in advance at an agreed upon price. In some, members of the community purchase a “share” of the anticipated harvest, while in others they sign up for a predetermined amount of produce over the course of the season.
WHAT IS THE COST TO BE A MEMBER OF A CSA?
If the farm offers “shares” it’s usually enough to feed a family of four or a couple on a vegetarian diet.
Sometimes “half shares” are available. The price of a share for a season varies widely, depending on each farm’s
costs of operation, total months of distribution, variety of crops available and productivity of the soil. Most full
shares fall with the range of $300 to $700. Actual cost of produce to the member varies, but is generally
comparable to prices in the supermarket. Many farms offer their shareholders the opportunity to work in the
?elds or distribute produce in exchange for a discounted share price. Others offer sliding scales to accommodate
lower income consumers.
• Encourages and ?nancially supports producers to
farm with low or no chemical use and to use energy
• Strengthens local economy; keep food dollars here.