Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs are about to begin here on the east coast and members are waiting anxiously for the first delivery from their farm!
What is a CSA? It is an alternative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution. CSA members buy a share in a local farm and then share the harvest (and the risk) with their farmer. Each week throughout the growing season members receive a box of freshly harvested produce, typically at a cost savings off store prices.
The CSA concept was brought from Germany and Switzerland to America in the early 1980’s by organic and biodynamic farming operations and these types of farms are still the primary participants. Organic farmers find this model very cost effective and their members are eating it up!! The number of CSA operations in the US is estimated to be over 6,000 and the number is growing every year. People want to know where their food comes from and they like to support farmers who are not destroying the environment while growing their food. CSA families eat much the same way their grandparents did – fresh, locally and seasonally – with selection dependent on the weather! The first boxes will contain cool weather crops, such as spring onions, arugula, spinach, radishes, salad turnips and snow peas – maybe even a quart of strawberries!