A Growing Trend: Community Supported Agriculture

An overview of Community Supported Agriculture.

There’s a new trend on the rise among health-conscious and environmentally consumers. It’s called “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA)

Through Community Supported Agriculture, individuals and families can essentially purchase stock in a local farm. By helping to fund the farm’s production, community members receive a portion of the seasonal crops. A single share is often enough to meet the needs of a family of four. Share-holders, sometimes called “subscribers,” receive deliveries from their farm on a set schedule, or travel to the farm to select their own goods. In addition to harvested produce, CSA farms may provide fresh milk, eggs, flowers, and more. For those subscribers who want a more hands-on involvement, some CSA farms offer work hours as a method of payment.

Not only does Community Supported Agriculture provide consumers with access to fresh produce, they also provide security for small farmers around the country. CSA farmers receive payment in advance for anticipated crops. This helps them meet financial burdens even if they experience a poor harvest. CSA farmers also have less wasted goods and lower storage fees, since food is distributed soon after a harvest. Thanks to CSA agreements, many smaller farms have been saved from selling out or shutting down.

Like any other investment, CSA farms can be a risky venture. If crops are bad, share-holders lose money. However, the benefits of a CSA investment are many. Most notably, subscribers generally receive produce at below retail prices. This is due to the direct relationship between producer and consumer. There are no middlemen, no transportation fees, and no packaging costs. Furthermore, most CSA farms provide organic produce, which is a major health benefit for the subscriber.

Ultimately, Community Supported Agriculture helps develop a strong local economy. It also helps our environment by decreasing emissions associated with food transport. The farming process itself is also better for our planet. Large-scale farms are generally specialized to produce one or two cash crops that can deplete the soil. CSA farms produce a wider array of fruits and vegetables to meet their subscribers’ needs. This diversification helps the soil replenish itself.

There are currently more than 1000 CSA farms across the country. Interested in becoming a part of this growing trend? Below is a list of websites where you can search for a CSA farm in your area.

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://newfarm.org/farmlocator/index.php

http://www.eatwellguide.org/

http://www.biodynamics.com/csa.html

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Published in: Rural Living

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  1. I think CSA’s will become even more popular as the cost of transporting food long distances increases.

    In our rural area, most people eat locally grown food. Generally it is grown organically, or at least unsprayed. There isn’t an organized CSA, but farmers’ markets are plentiful. I like the idea of supporting our local farmers. The idea of helping with the harvesting as part payment for CSA membership is also interesting. I could see myself doing this, since I’m retiring soon, and would have more time (and less income ;-D).

    This is a good article about an important subject.

  2. I have used your article in mine:

    http://www.scienceray.com/Technology/Applied-Science/Extensive-Farming-A-Misnomer.388039

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