Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has recently gained popularity by providing consumers local produce from farmers directly. The system of cutting out the middleman (grocery stores) was started over 25 years ago. The concept is to allow consumers to buy “shares” of local farmers. Basically, a consumer purchases a share at the beginning of the season for a certain price, and then collects their share of produce each week during that farming season.
This process delivers numerous benefits for both the farmer and consumer. Focusing on the potential benefits for the consumer includes
- Introduce consumers to new produce
- Exposure to new recipes and ways to cook the produce
- Understanding how the food is growth
- Build a relationship to the farmer
- Fresh food, which means more favor and nutrients
- Support local farmers and communities
- Opportunity to visit the farm where the food is growing
Like anything else, there are potential risks. The consumer usually pays upfront, with the understanding of receiving their share each week. If produce is lower than expected, the consumer usually does not get reimbursed. Although, farmers tried their best to provide the most produce as they can; but there are cases where the season’s harvest is not as much as expected. It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with the farmer you are planning to buy a share from. Some question you may want to ask them include
- How long have you been farming?
- How many other members do you currently have?
- How many members did you have last year?
- How much food did you produce last season?
- Do you have any references? Other members’ contacts information.
For more questions visit Local Harvest.
Chicago Foodies. (2010, March 6). Chicago CSA- Community Supported Agriculture. Retrieved from http://www.chicagofoodies.com/2010/03/chicago-csa-community-supported-agriculture.html
Local Harvest. (2012). Local Harvest: Real Food, Real Farmers, Real Community. Retrieved from http://www.localharvest.org