Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is direct mutual support between farmers and consumers. Farmers support a community of members, and consumers support a local farmer.
(We use the terms Vegetable Share, Flower Share, and Seedling Share to describe our CSA programs, as those terms are more recognizable than “CSA”.)
How farmers support consumers (their members):
- Farm on behalf of their members, using growing practices their members value
- Plant, tend and produce a diversity of crops that will be available to their members throughout the harvest season
- Harvest and pack the best produce from their field each week for their Share members – food that is truly fresh
- Continue to learn and implement new strategies that will increase the quality of their harvests – food that is more delicious and nutritious
- Grow food without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc – food that is health-promoting
- Provide recipe ideas, cooking tips, food storage tips, etc
There are many options for CSA programs, so consumers can (and should) choose a farm with values that they believe in (eg, growing methods, the variety of produce grown), and CSA features that are a good fit for their family (eg, pickup options, flexibility, size of share, the level of support that is offered, etc.)
How consumers support a farm:
- Commit to purchase from a farm for the season; pay a deposit for their membership early in the year that helps provide working capital when farmers need it most (for seeds, supplies, equipment, infrastructure, labour)
- Deal directly with a farm (no middlemen involved); more equitable returns for the farm
- Share in the risk of farming by agreeing to receive a variety of what’s in season, even if certain crops are less plentiful due to weather or other factors beyond the farmer’s control
Community Supported Agriculture is a way for consumers to support the kind of farming / food production they want to benefit from, and for farmers to provide nourishment directly to people who value the quality and integrity of what the farmer produces.
It’s a re-localizing of the food economy. A re-establishing of community. A re-storing of quality and integrity in food production.