“Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.”
-United States Dept. of Agriculture
Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is a means for a direct connection to be made between the eater and the grower. (Click here to learn more about Crossroads Community Farm’s CSA.)
In the CSA model, individuals become members of a farm for a given season. Members pay up front to join the farm, and in exchange they receive weekly boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables grown at their farm over the course of the season. Farmers provide newsletters with recipes to help members understand how their veggies are grown and how they can use them. CSA often have events throughout the growing season where members can come and meet their farmer and see the land that nourishes their food.
The CSA model benefits both members and farmers. Members get access to a wide variety of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. They get to know who grows their food. And finally, they get to share in both the risk and bounty of farming. Through the membership model, farmers have the cash they need at the beginning of the season to buy their seeds and pay for their labor without needing to take out risky loans. Member support also helps buffer risks due to uncontrollable weather. Being able to directly market to their members also allows farmers to receive the full portion of profit for the food they grow. The CSA model helps family farms stay viable.