CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. According to the United States Department of Agriculture,
It is 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. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.
From Local Harvest:
This is great for the environment because it supports local farmers and allows you to eat local, seasonal foods. By purchasing your groceries from a CSA instead of a huge corporation, you are decreasing the amount of pesticides, fertilizer, packaging, transportation, fossil fuels, and all that jazz that is required for conventional produce. Supporting local farmers also helps sustain and conserve the local biodiversity of the area.
Many farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk, meats, or any sort of different farm products.
A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.
A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 2000
Additionally, the overall cost usually is easier on your wallet too, and you are able to experience a wide variety of nutritious produce that you otherwise might not take the time to pick up.
Have you had any experiences with CSA? Do you find it a convenient and healthy way to get produce?
These images are from Eggs on a Sunday.