Sunday, June 8, 2008

TT #13 Community Supported Agriculture


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a term I have just learned. I know about farming. Both my husband and I have roots in farming; in fact we own the small family farm where my husband grew up, and as an avocation we grow pine trees and provide wildlife habitat. We have a fig tree that will be producing in the next week or so---and I can hardly wait. We also have several pecan trees, and we are trying to grow a few sunflowers, both for me and the other wildlife (ha). However, we are far removed from farming as livelihood. Here's what I have learned about a great program called community supported agriculture:

  1. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) originated in Japan (1960s) and Europe (1970s) and began in the United States in the 1980s.

  2. This "movement" encourages relationships between farmers and consumers.

  3. The goal of this relationship is to provide solutions to the problems of small farm survival, food quality, nutrition, community building, sustainability and quality of life.

  4. CSA involves the consumer buying a "share" of or "membership" in a farming operation. For that share, the consumer gets a bag of produce each week during the growing season.

  5. This partnership provides the farmer with capital to plant the crops and ensures a guaranteed market for their products.

  6. As shareholders of the farm business, the consumers share the risks with the farmer. If there is no rain or if some other problem strikes, the bounty for the week might not be so bountiful. In this way, the risks are spread throughout the whole membership rather than falling solely on the farmer.

  7. Another benefit to the consumers is that they become more knowledgeable about the growing of food. Just like a person who buys stock in XYZ Company want to learn something about XYZ's business, the CSA consumer could learn about different varieties of vegetables, how much rain the region has enjoyed, whether there is irrigation, and what "green" techniques the farmer is using. Consumers become involved in the production of the food they eat.

  8. The consumer enjoys a variety of fresh produce, produced locally, and becomes directly connected to the food source.

  9. The consumer will be supporting a small farm and contributing to your local economy.

  10. Consumers can visit the farm and even work there on a volunteer basis.

  11. Another great benefit is the chance to build community with farmers and other shareholders.

  12. The CSA program encourages social responsibility towards stewarding the earth.

  13. Participating in a CSA program is a green thing to do.


I have learned about one CSA farm in our region, and I plan to contact the farmer this week to learn more. Do you participate in a CSA? If so, please tell us about it in your comment.




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26 comments:

Michelle said...

Wow, Sounds like a great organization. I had no idea a group like this even existed. Great idea for your TT. Thanks for stopping by mine.

B Wiens said...

Very informative! This sounds very much like what we do down here with "our" native/ethnic community, in order to help them with their farming.

Thanks for stopping by at my TT post.

Patty said...

I want to get involved in this next year, when hopefully we can afford the dues. This has not been a good economic year for us, and the dues were too much to swing. :sigh:

SandyCarlson said...

I read about this in our local paper the other day, Kay. It's a great idea. Thanks for providing more, and better, info!

Michelle S. said...

My husband and I are BIG proponets of the small/local farmers....and even in other ways we always prefer to support the "little man" as my husband calls them over the large corporate bohemuth companies.

Clara said...

We have a farmer friend who has done this for a few years. Sadly he lives far away. Your T13 has some great info about it!

Come see my very first T13.

Lori said...

Great info...thanks for sharing and for stopping by;)Happy TT.

Firefly mom said...

We love our CSA! We found it off of Local Harvest's website http://www.localharvest.org/search-csa.jsp?map=1&lat=45.527631&lon=-122.397778&scale=1&ty=6&zip=97060

You're right about the crops - last year we had a bumper crop of lettuce and cukes and the cantaloupes were a bust. We still ended up freezing a ton of veggies that we enjoyed all winter.

Maisie said...

I had not heard of CSA until I read your post. Wonder if there are any programs like this in my area.

Chris said...

We have a community garden in our community and our university to be more "green" has thought aout starting something similar on campus, but we are still in the talking stages of that one.

Thanks for visiting my TT - Come back again soon!

Sue said...

Excellent! I wonder if we have something similar here? I'll have to look into it :) Great post!

My TT is here

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Carol said...

Sounds like a win-win situation!

erin (at) jewellerybyerin (dot) com said...

My friend Lara is really into buying locally produced/grown, I'm sure I've heard her taling about CSA in the past.
Thanks for all the great infromation.

Darla said...

That sounds like a great idea! We do buy things like potatoes and apples here directly from the farmer, but I don't think there's a similar program in this area. Maybe after we move.

Stace said...

I've been reading a lot about CSA's..there are a few where I live and I'm seriously considering joining. This is a great list..thank you so much for sharing :-)

Janet said...

I don't belong, but I know some folks who do. I'd love to, if there was one close to me. As it is, I do most of my veggie shopping at a farm stand close by...and he's been farming in this town for more than 50 years!

WillThink4Wine said...

Wonderful info! Thanks for this.

crunchiemummy said...

We have a couple of stores that call themselves farmer's markets in my area that sell local produce. I am trying to shop there more often as they are much cheaper than the local supermarket chains and I need to support the local farmers. Thanks for the info and for stopping by my TT!

Lori said...

Thanks for the informative TT. I know next to nothing about anything to do with farming or agriculture. I can't even keep my houseplants alive. Glad there are others more talented than me! :-)
Thanks for stopping by!

Celticlibrarian said...

I've participated in something like that, but...let's just say that I'm not a very good cook. So, being unable to predict what produce I would receive from week to week ended up being a bit wasteful. I'm going to stick with Farmer's Markets for now.

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

Great info... there's not much farming here in the desert, but we do try to support our local farmer's market!

Miriam said...

I found our CSA through www.localharvest.org

And i want some figs. Mmmmmmmm....hopefully that means the farmer's market will be getting some shortly.

colleen said...

We have several of them here in Floyd VA but Joe and I grow our own food. Floyd is becoming known for it's small organic market farming as well as its music and and art scene.

Did you see the tower gardeing thing on the Steven Colbert show?

Kacey said...

Great idea for a TT post! Informative AND relevant to the struggles in today's economy. I've been considering getting involved in a CSA program in my area.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Bubba said...

We have one of those here...but I have not participated because of conflict of schedule when they do their weekly distribution. I'm trying to twist a friend's arm to split a share... :)

Great list...and thanks for stopping by my little corner. God bless!

Kara said...

I have looked into joining a CSA before, and this is such a great post on the topic!