Another way to get involved in supporting local, seasonal agriculture is to sign up for a CSA. CSAs (short for “Community Supported Agriculture”) are a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Basically, a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box or bag of fruits and vegetables, but other farm products (such as eggs, butter, and value-added products) may also be included. Customers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season (or however each individual farm schedules it).
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer:
Advantages for farmers:
- They get to spend time marketing the food early in the year
- They receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- They have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow and teach them about their farm and products
Advantages for consumers:
- They get to eat super-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits of seasonal produce
- They are exposed to new fruits and vegetables and new ways of cooking these products
- Most farms give consumers the opportunity to visit the farm at least once a season, which allows consumers to develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
Click here for a list of CSAs available in our area.