What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutually supportive and cooperative relationship between the producer and the consumer. The consumer pays for a crop "share" in advance, guaranteeing producers a market for their goods. In return, growers commit themselves to supplying fresh, quality produce to shareholders on a weekly basis throughout the growing season.
How does CSA benefit producers?
Share payment in advance eases a grower's financial burden in the early growing season and provides them both a market and an income. Because they know their market, they are less likely to over- or under-produce. CSA farmers are also less likely to be devastated by unexpected weather conditions because they grow a wide range of crops. While certain conditions may not be ideal for one crop, they are likely to produce an abundance of another.
How does CSA benefit consumers?
Shareholders are guaranteed a supply of fresh, quality produce during the growing season, and possibly longer. They also have the unique opportunity to connect with the land on which their food is grown by assisting in production or just visiting the farm on a regular basis for pick-ups and shareholder events. Community is fostered as a result of cooperative work, shared responsibility, and keeping food dollars within the local economy.
How does CSA benefit the earth?
Many CSA farms employ sustainable agricultural practices such as organic farming (using no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers), diversifying crops, minimizing waste by avoiding overproduction, and reducing packaging and transportation. In addition, customers who spend time at the farms become aware of and sensitive to the fragile beauty and natural richness of their ecosystem.
How do I participate in CSA?
Visit CSA farms to meet the owners and see the land. Review share prices, (call farms for current prices), pick-up times and locations, length of season, products available, and special features of the CSA. Then contact the farm to join. Please note that most CSA's require you to purchase your share in the spring, before the season begins.
Agriculture & Food Systems Team Leader
(716) 433-8839 ext. 231
Last updated December 30, 2016