A CSA is a group of people in a given community who partner with a local farm that provides them with fresh produce every week during the harvest season- quite literally, Community Supported Agriculture. CSA members pay for a “share” of the farmer’s produce at the beginning of the season, which gives the farm a fixed income for the year. Usually, farmers are at the mercy of volatile market prices, bad weather, and consumer trends, which makes budgeting difficult. With a CSA, a farmer can invest in their farm’s expenses upfront, and worry less about an uncertain future. The community, in turn, receives local, organic produce often harvested the previous day at reasonable prices.
The payment is collected late winter – early spring, and the farmer delivers the vegetables straight from the farm to a central pick-up point every week beginning in the Summer. The community’s members come to the pick-up point to collect their “share” of the produce- typically 6-10 different kinds of seasonal vegetables every week. Obviously, the produce consists of whatever kind of vegetables are fit for that particular region and climate, and everyone gets the same variety and amount. The produce is local, so resources aren’t wasted in transporting it from all over the world, and there is no middle-man, so the farmer earns a fair amount for his efforts. Because our members are drawn from the community geographically, CSA membership cuts across all other common barriers like race, language, national origin, and so on, and true community is developed at weekly pickups and other CSA events.