What is CSA?
CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. I am writing about this because I believe small local farmers don't get enough support. Local farms are the very best way to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables in your home to nourish your family. If you are concerned about the environment and your carbon footprint, this is the best way to promote sustainability. Imagine knowing your farmer and where your food was grown... It's the next best thing to having your own garden!
Community Supported Agriculture as we know it began in the early 1960’s in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan as a response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural land (sound familiar!?). Groups of consumers and farmers in Europe formed cooperative partnerships to support farms and farming by paying the full costs of ecologically sound, socially equitable agriculture. In 1965, mothers in Japan concerned about the rise of imported food and the loss of arable land started the first CSA projects, called “Teikei.” CSA began in the United States on two east coast farms in 1986. Since that time, CSA farms have been organized throughout the country with over 12,500 community supported farms serving farm fresh food in every state. (CSA History from: www.csacoalition.org/history-of-csa/)
Think of a CSA as buying shares of a local farm. The payoff for your investment is enjoying the freshest seasonal produce as it becomes available. When you become a CSA member, fresh produce is typically delivered or picked up weekly or bi-weekly at a convenient location depending upon the option you purchase. Many farms now offer a variety of options to accommodate your family's needs, like a full or half portions. With the membership, there is a commitment to participate for a certain number of weeks that usually coincides with the growing season in your local area. Most farms have a variety of payment plans, as well.
A great way to start is to ask about CSAs in person at local farms or farmer's markets. I also found this website where you can search by area: www.localharvest.org/csa/ This helpful site provides Tips for Choosing a CSA and Questions to ask a Farmer.
CSA...what a great investment in your health, local economy and the environment!