Have you ever wondered how you can support your local farmer on a deeper level than just eating locally? If so, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is the program for you.
Community Supported Agriculture
In very basic terms a CSA provides you to own a share of crops grown by a local farmer. You pay up front, and every week/other week/month the farmer gives you something from the farm in return. This may be produce, meat, eggs, dairy, or any number of things a farmer can grow or produce. Your money, by being paid up front, supports the farmer during the planting part, and you reap the rewards of a local farm, without the work.
How does a CSA work?
At the start of the year, most farmers put out advertisements stating how many “shares” of the produce they are selling this year. This ad might include the different types of shares they have, what comes in each share, and roughly how much you can expect over the course of the season. If you like the size of their shares, you can contact the farm and pay upfront for those vegetables, meats/eggs, or dairy. Then every week or so you meet up with the farmers at a drop point and pick up your locally grown, already paid for, box. It’s that simple.
Benefits of a CSA
In addition to having your farmer’s market groceries already packaged for you, there are other benefits to supporting a CSA. One of the perks of a CSA is exposure to new vegetables or fruits. The farmer puts in your box what he has available, some of which you may have never tried.
The farmer also benefits greatly from you buying in to the CSA. The upfront money is a huge help to a small farm, improving their cash flow for the entire season, no matter how well their crops do. They also get the chance to get to know their customers before their long, hard days in the field start.
So if you want to make the most impact possible in your local community, grab a share of a CSA from a local farm.