by Jon Metz
Community-supported agriculture, also known as a farm share, is a form of an alternative food network. (CSA) is a socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. CSA’s usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme, and sometimes includes dairy products and meat. It enables farmers to develop a cohesive consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods. CSA theory purports that the more a farm embraces whole-farm, whole-budget support, the more it can focus on quality and reduce the risk of food waste or financial loss.
As a consumer, the benefits include fresh produce available weekly for approximately 22 weeks usually starting in June. Typically the farms practice organic growing processes and are located in close proximity to the areas they serve. You cannot get fresher food without growing it yourself! Simply find a CSA that is best for you, sign up to participate and pay for the entire growing season. Each CSA may operate a little differently so be sure to find out the details for delivery etc. Be sure to ACT NOW. The concept is to prepay and the model is driven by having the money in advance of the season. Some CSA’s offer an early bird discount if you pay before mid-April.
CSA’s can be shared with another individual to keep quantities manageable. The system has many variations on how the farm budget is supported by the consumers and how the producers then deliver the foods. www.ecovian.com is a search engine that will list nearby CSA’s. Click on the names to learn more about pricing and delivery locations and choose the one that works the best for you! You won’t regret it. Most of the CSA's will include recipes to go along with the items in the bag. Enjoy the summer and eat well!