Community Supported Agriculture Programs (CSAs) have evolved to fit many different models but the basic structure works like this: during the late winter and early spring months, when the farmer needs money to purchase seeds and other supplies for the season, members of the local community purchase CSA shares. In other words, they buy their vegetables for the entire season in advance. Then every week or every other week, depending on what type of share they’ve purchased, they receive a share of produce from the farm.
CSAs are a valuable way for the community to become involved in where their food is coming from. At their core is a mutual commitment: the farm feeds the CSA members fresh and nutritious whole foods and, in turn, the CSA members support the farm. Together, the farmer and the CSA members share in the inherent risks and potential bounty of farm life.
I believe that Community Supported Agriculture is one tool that we have to help make our communities whole again. Big agriculture is unsustainable. As our population continues to grow, as the demand for healthy food increases and as we face the consequences of climate change, our communities need to be strong and resilient. Growing Certified Naturally Grown, fresh vegetables for the local community is the most tangible piece of what Community Supported Agriculture is all about. But not all CSAs are just about the veggies. The best Community Supported Agriculture programs I’ve encountered embody other qualities as well. Health. Art. Community. People. Friendships. Love.
“Can you find love in a basket of veggies? You bet you can.” – Cathy Zarkovich
And an added little perk? Sign-up by National CSA Sign-Up Day (Feb 24) and you’ll receive a set of notecards from the farm!