Community Supported Agriculture is a system whereby a community of ordinary people come together to support a farm operation, making the farm in some sense a community farm. To this end they all share in the risks and benefits of food production, paying for necessary tools and labor costs directly and recieving a share when the farm produces. In that sense, it’s a bit like buying shares in a company on the stock market, the key difference here being that in return for buying shares in the farm, the farmer(s) give you exclusive prices on produce.
Shares of a farm are bought by members of the local community. The money is given in advance, and goes towards agricultural production. In return, shareholders get a piece of the harvest every week. Shareholders may also be asked to work on the farm in addition to donating money. The model is designed to revitalize local agriculture.
Community Supported Agriculture is a locally-based farm operation that solicits “subscriptions” from community members. Customers pay a monthly fee to the farmer, and receive weekly CSA boxes containing a portion of whatever the farmer is harvesting that week. It’s a way for farmers to interact with their neighbors, and neighbors to support local agriculture directly, with their dollars. It guarantees the farmer a regular income without having to spend a lot of time and effort marketing. Instead, the farmer can concentrate on what he does best, growing fruits and vegetables. For the CSA members, it gives them a steady supply of fresh produce throughout the growing season.
Many CSA’s build community by hosting community appreciation and volunteer days that offer customers a chance to see the farm, meet and get to know the farmer, and meet other like-minded individuals in their community. Customers know and trust the farmer that produces their food.
CSA’s reduce the carbon footprint of your diet by making sure that most of your produce is harvested fresh and comes from local sources. This minimizes the energy consumption of cold storage of vegetables and long transportation. It also assures that customers get fresher produce.
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