CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and has been ongoing in the US for over twenty years. CSA has its origination in Europe and Japan, this food distribution model was a response for urbanites finding fresh wholesome food for families. Most CSA agriculture models are based on organic, naturally grown methods.
CSA is a two-fold economic model that helps the farmer get his produce to market and helps the consumer by providing a regular supply of farm fresh naturally grown products. The weekly offering will always be different because different crops grow at different rates and seasons.
The CSA concept is quite easy and can be broken down into five main parts.
- Membership – most CSAs encourage families to come and visit the farm to see their food in action, it also gives a chance for both parties to interact and get to know each other. Some CSAs may require members to work on the farm, but some do not offer this option.
- Term – this is the length of the agreement and is based on the farmer’s local growing season.
- Shares – these are based on the amount of products in the portion. Some CSAs offer family, full, or half shares, these are arbitrary terms used to differentiate the amount of products and the perceived vale of each share. A family of five will have different fresh food requirements than a single person.
- Payment – most CSAs will require a down payment and payments options to either pay in full up front or on a weekly basis.
- Pick-up – there is usually one or two pickup locations within a set block of time, which is usually four hours. If a share cannot be picked up arrangement may be made for another party to pick it up for you. If you will be out of town you can give your share to someone else or be donated to one of the local food banks.
The deeper aspects of a CSA is the stated and implied concept of shared risk. The terms community supported agriculture is based on an important concept woven into the CSA model that takes the arrangement beyond the usual commercial transaction. That is the notion of shared risk: in most CSAs, members pay up front for the whole season and the farmers do their best to provide an abundant box of produce each week.
If a certain product does not do so well then it will obviously not be available to deliver as a product portion of a share. Frost happens! Of course this risk implies that on our part we will try to do everything possible to make the agreement work to the benefit of all parties concerned.
One of the things that will help create and maintain a sense of community is communication on a regular basis. We encourage you to come visit the farm and even encourage you to hang out and have a family picnic if you want. Another key to communication is the weekly newsletter highlighting the upcoming weeks share products and giving tips and simple recipes to use with your family.
Our terms and agreements can be read here, if you would like to become a member you can download and print the agreement to begin the process.
Anyone can sign up for our weekly member newsletter follow this link to our contact page and enter newsletter in the comment section. The weekly newsletters will also be posted online and you can use the pop up box to the right to be notified of post updates!