Published Aug 2, 2010

CSA 101

By Sally Worley
Most people are familiar with CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture. Here are a quick few tidbits if the concept is new to you.

1) Farmers have guaranteed income at the beginning of the season.

  • Asset: Money is available up front for seeds and supplies.
  • Limitation: Caps your income, income comes all at once vs. regular intervals.
2) Members share risk with farmers. They have stock in the farm: Share impact of crop failures, weather incidents, surpluses.

3) Builds relationships between farmer and consumers. Consumers get more connected to where their food comes from. Farm visits and education ensue.


4) Huge variances: from fruit and vegetables, to eggs, flowers, meat, poultry, bread, and even dog treats. Great variety in quantity, packaging, duration, and price as well.


5) Originated in 1985 in U.S.; in 1965 in Japan (also originated around that time in , where Teikei literally meant “Putting the farmers’ face on food.” Over 2500 listed on Local Harvest currently. There is not a comprehensive list, so actual numbers are not known.


6) Producers are required to know how to successfully grow a wide variety of products and schedule accordingly to have a reasonable amount ready to harvest each week.


7) What is in each share is determined by what is available seasonally. Can serve as a “one-stop shop” for some, others don’t like the lack of flexibility in some CSAs.