CSA Community Supported Agriculture

I had been wondering what a CSA was but was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know, so I did some research for us, and have ended up subscribing to one.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a farm to family initiative, a national movement. You buy a share in a local farm’s crops and get fresh vegetables delivered every week during growing season, which in the Northeast is mid-May through mid-October.

Benefits of CSAs:

Healthier, no herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. Eating produce that is fresh picked gives us up to 10% more nutritional value than what’s in the markets. Plus, the moment a vegetable or fruit is refrigerated it begins to lose nutrients; vitamins useful to us.

Environmentally friendly, not only organic, they are using the soil for what it was meant for, and preserving and supporting farms. Most vegetables sold in supermarkets have traveled 1500 miles, so buying locally saves fuel.

Educational and community oriented, many CSA’s encourage their share holders to help with the planting and harvest. The vegetables grown often expand our horizons beyond the familiar. My CSA offers Bok Choi, edible flowers, and chard, for example. It’s also important for kids to see that their food comes from the ground. Many of the farms give tours.

To determine the cost of a share, each CSA totals their costs, decides how many share holders they can produce food for, and divides total costs by the number of share holders. My CSA is $325 per share holder for an 18 week season. There is one delivery per week, and a delivery will generously feed two adults for a week, but will adequately feed a family with two children.

For more information, and to find a farm near you, go to:
www.localharvest.org.

CSAs in your area may deliver meats, eggs and cheeses.

Hint: I did not get a result when I looked for a CSA in my area, but when I looked for a farm in my area, I got lots of results, many that were CSAs.

ASE has written other articles about the Buy Local and CSA initiatives;

The Buy Local Spirit

and

Everything but the Kitchen Sink