how does community supported agriculture work



Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a production and marketing model whereby consumers buy shares of a farm’s harvest in advance. Consumers become CSA members by paying an agreed amount at the beginning of the growing season, either in one lump sum or in installments.

How does a community supported agriculture production operate?

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and consumers, where consumers purchase a share of a farm’s products in advance, typically paying in full in the wintertime when farms need capital to prepare for the spring.

What is a community supported agriculture system?

Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

Are community supported agriculture worth it?

Bottom Line: Joining a CSA is a wonderful way to support local agriculture and buy fresh and affordable produce, but it’s a big commitment. If you’re new to buying local foods, you may want to start by shopping at your local farmers’ market or farm stand weekly before signing up for a CSA.

How is community supported agriculture sustainable?

Being a CSA member allows one to support local farmers and to develop a relationship with them. CSAs are a sustainable food option where carbon emissions are lower and many commit to treating the land, the workers, and the consumers fairly.

How do I set up a CSA?

Tips for Starting a CSAFind Your Network. … Meet Potential Members. … Develop a Business Plan and Budget. … Consider Working Memberships. … Set Expectations Early. … Develop a Crop Plan. … Cultivate Memberships. … Establish a Delivery System.More items…•

Is CSA a non profit?

CSA Group is a not-for-profit organization. There is a charge for certification, and that revenue is used to support the work we do to enhance public safety and health, advance the quality of life, help preserve the environment and facilitate trade. Does CSA Group certify children’s items?

What are the pros and cons of joining a CSA?

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSAPro: You’re supporting a specific local farm sans middleman.Con: You’re limited to that farm.Pro: The food is fresh.Con: You must be ready to use it.Pro: It’s inexpensive.Con: You have to spend it all at once.Pro: It’s interactive.Con: There are requirements.More items…

What are the benefits of a CSA?

Consumers experience many benefits when choosing to subscribe to a local CSA: High quality, fresh, nutritious food: CSA produce is often harvested within days or hours of delivery, meaning produce retains more nutritional value and stays fresher longer.

How do I price my CSA?

Methods for Setting Share Price: Sell at Market PriceMost farmers use this method.Charge members a set amount (usually $15-$20 a week), then give them a share of produce which would cost them that amount if they bought it elsewhere – usually use farmers’ market prices to determine value.

Do CSAs use pesticides?

In return for the member’s financial investment, the farmer will grow a variety of fruits and vegetables (our produce is all grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers) that the member will be able to choose from each week.

How are CSAs healthier?

Many of the foods given out in CSAs have high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants–which can be protective against cancers and inflammation. Increased fruit and vegetable intake over time is linked to lower risk of chronic disease, specifically heart disease (4).


What Is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a form of organic agriculture that relies on the cooperation and relationships between farmers and consumers. The farmers are the producers of organic products, and have the assurance that the consumers will buy their products through pre-paid subscription memberships.

Community Supported Agriculture Benefits

What are the pros and cons of joining a CSA? As more of us discover the drawbacks of the global food supply chain, and begin to consider CSA as a great option (for our health and for that of the planet), let’s go into it with our eyes wide open.

What are CSA Boxes?

The CSA Box is the weekly supply of locally grown fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, etc. that you get in return for your membership. These boxes either get delivered to your home or, as is more common, they get dropped off at pick-up points where you will need to collect them.

What is the CSA Membership Cost?

The membership, or “share price,” differs from CSA to CSA. The median share price for a full share is $400, and for a half share is $250. Full shares feed 2 to 5 people, and half shares feed 1 to 3 people. These prices are calculated based on costs of production, overhead costs, and other considerations of a typical organic farming business.

CSA vs Co-operatives (Is a CSA a Co-op?)

CSAs are an alternative socio-economic food system, just like a food co-op. But in a CSA, there are clear, distinct and separate producers and consumers, with a business transaction taking place between them.

Examples of Community Supported Agriculture

The Helsing Junction Farms CSA in Washington state has over 550 members and delivers from June to mid October. Each weekly CSA Box can contain between 6-14 items, depending on the harvest and the size of the share. The contents vary also along with the changing seasons. You can sign up for any one of a variety of options.

How to Find Community Supported Agriculture Near Me

Community supported agriculture programs are available in every state. Through these programs, consumers can purchase certified organic fruits and vegetables. They can also buy certified organic meats and poultry, as well as a wide variety of other foods.

What is community supported agriculture?

Broadly speaking, Community Supported Agriculture schemes are community-based organisations that develop direct and co-operative agreements between producers and consumers on a local scale.

What are the benefits of CSA farming?

Many of the CSA models offer a more sustainable and stable future to the farmer where people and the community are invested in the farm through ‘shares’ . The upfront funding from members, allows a farmer to plan ahead and make more efficient production decisions.

Why are CSAs growing?

On the bright side, CSAs are growing in numbers as public awareness increases and as more people seek out locally produced food as their own way forward in becoming a more conscious and environmentally aware member of society.

Why is CSA important?

For those who volunteer or play some kind of active role in the food production, it also plays a hugely significant role in giving people a true purpose and getting outside in amongst nature and wildlife. This has been proven to enhance feelings of wellbeing and mental health. That isn’t just a throwaway, off-the-cuff statement either, it’s true. Over 70% of CSA members saying their quality of life has improved since being a member.

Why is food so important to communities?

Firstly, it gives communities full control over their food supply, how it’s grown (mainly organically) and what is produced. It’s super fresh and it’s super local.

Where are CSA farms?

It’s not just in rural areas where CSA farms exist either. More and more are popping up in urban city areas. For example, Platt Fields Market Garden just outside Manchester city centre, Iona Local Food CSA in Nottingham, Meanwood Valley Urban Farm in Leeds, Regather in Sheffield and Growing Communities in Hackney, North London. I can’t wait to see more local CSAs in urban areas across the UK.

How many CSA farms are there in the UK?

There are now over 100 Community Supported Agriculture farms in the UK, meaning there are plenty of CSA examples to choose from covering all CSA types.

What is a farmer’s share?

Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Why do farmers receive payments early in the season?

Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow

Can a farmer deliver chickens to a CSA?

For example, a produce farmer might create a partnership with a neighbor to deliver chickens to the CSA drop off point, so that the CSA members can purchase farm-fresh chickens when they come to get their CSA baskets. Other farmers are creating standalone CSAs for meat, flowers, eggs, and preserved farm products.

Do kids like food from their farm?

Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat

Can CSA members be reimbursed?

If things are slim, members are not typically reimbursed. The result is a feeling of “we’re in this together”. On some farms the idea of shared risk is stronger than others, and CSA members may be asked to sign a policy form indicating that they agree to accept without complaint whatever the farm can produce.

Why I Love MY CSA: Community Supported Agriculture Program

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a great way to get fresh produce, eat seasonally, and limit your carbon footprint. I think I have a farmer in my soul, but I lack the space, time, and knowledge to delve too deeply into growing my own food and raising chickens for fresh eggs. And that is why I love my CSA.

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What is Community Supported Agriculture?

Community supported agriculture (CSA) allows people to purchase seasonal produce directly from a local farmer. The farm offers a certain number of “shares” to the public and commits to grow food for participating members.

Variations on the CSA Concept

CSAs began in Japan in the mid-1960s and 1970s; consumers were concerned with the increasing use of pesticides in industrial farming, and European biodynamic agriculture was exploding, too. The concept of subscription farming made its way to the U.S. in the mid-1980s.

How to Get the Most Out of a Membership

Interested in joining a CSA? Keep these tips in mind to maximize your experience.

What is a mix and match CSA?

The beauty of the mix and match or market-style CSA program is personal choice! Instead of receiving a pre-packaged box, CSA members will visit a makeshift market in which the farmer “lays out baskets of the week’s vegetables” and the “members load their own boxes with some degree of personal choice.” In this open market-type CSA, members are either encouraged or allowed to take a “prescribed amount of what’s available.”

What to eat before joining a CSA?

Make sure you understand “seasonal eating” before joining a CSA. We’re used to walking into a grocery store and finding everything we would ever need. When you join a CSA, you’re depending solely on what is in season in your specific climate. Oftentimes, the season starts out slim with veggies such as “salad greens, peas, and green onions,” and then later on “the boxes should be much heavier, with things like winter squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli.” Take a look at the farm’s website and you should be able to find a list of their offerings.

What is CSA in gardening?

A CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture,

What is CSA food?

A CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, matches small farms directly with customers who want fresh, seasonal food. According to, an online community for CSA farmers and customers, this approach to eating locally has been growing in popularity over the past two decades—just as consumers have become increasingly …

Why do people subscribe to CSA?

CSA subscribers not only have a reliable source for fresh produce, but they also feel a deeper connection to the folks who are growing what they eat. Kids learn where food comes from, and families have the confidence of knowing that what goes on their plates came out of the ground just a day or two before. In turn, small farmers get a bit of financial security. The subscription fees they collect up front fund their planting and growing operations, and they know how many customers to plan for—hence the name, Community Supported Agriculture. The community aspect appeals to customers and farmers alike. “It’s an added comfort, especially at the end of a dry two months with almost no rain at all, that our farmers aren’t taking this hit alone,” says Ryan. “We’re helping each other, and I love that aspect of CSA subscriptions.”

What is a small farm?

A small farm sells shares in its harvest to local customers. For a subscription fee that can vary depending on duration and quantity, a buyer can sign up to receive regular deliveries of fresh, seasonal produce. The farmer arranges a regular schedule where customers can pick up a package of newly harvested goods.

How much does a CSA cost?

“Our Summer CSA program runs for 22 weeks, spring through fall, usually beginning in late May and running through the early weeks of October,” says Esmee Elliott, who with her husband Todd, runs Hazelfield Farm in Kentucky. “We offer two size shares for the Summer CSA: $770 for full shares and $440 for half shares. We also offer a fall CSA that runs for 5 weeks, mid-October through November, and costs $125 per share .”

What Community Supported Agriculture Is and How It Works

Joining a CSA means access to fresh, local produce. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Couleur)

Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA Farm Project

Sustainable agricultural models like CSAs emphasize the future-oriented use of farmland. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Tama66)

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