What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

csa community-supportedagriculture

My husband and I decided this year to try out community supported agriculture. We’ve read about it before, but we were looking for an affordable option for the two of us. We found out about The Produce Box and so far it’s working well for us.

If you’re thinking about joining in with one, here is some information that helped us to make the leap. I hope it’ll help you make a decision that’s right for your family.

How Community Supported Agriculture Works

When you sign up for a CSA, you’re shareholder or member that has a economic relationship with a local farmer or farms. Typically members pay an upfront free to be a member for a year. In return members get share of the crop or livestock.

The benefits to the member is fresh food such as produce or meat delivered either to their door or a nearby location on a weekly or so basis. The farmers smooth out their finances with a steady source of income. csa community supported agriculture

Mutual Benefits of Community Supported Agriculture

Local Harvest’s site has some wonderful reasons why CSA can beneficial for both consumers and producers.

Advantages for farmers:

  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

Advantages for consumers:

  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

For us, the main reasons we’re joining is to improve our health while supporting the local economy while keeping our food expenses reasonable. Our biggest concern is participating, but not being able to take full advantage of it.

Right now, we’re trying to learn new recipes so food doesn’t go to waste. We used so vegetables this weekend for a cookout at my mother’s place and had a great time. We’re also enjoying chatting with our more culinary inclined friends and asking them if they have an ideas on how to prepare the food.

Thoughts on Joining a CSA

I’d like to get your take on community supported agriculture and how it affects you. How many of you have participated with a CSA? What have been some fo the pros and cons of joining? Have you been able to save money on groceries?

Photo Credit: Edsel L