Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is an alternative method of farming and food distribution that involves a group of individuals sharing a plot of land to produce food for their local community. CSA originated in Europe and Japan around the 1960s as a response to the drastic increase of urbanization and food safety concerns. About twenty years later, after much success and expansion, the CSA movement became popular in the United States. Temple-Wilton Community Farm, was one of the first CSA Farms in the United States and was founded in 1985 in Wilton, NH.
CSA Farms typically embrace organic and sustainable farming methods. Often times a group of farmers or growers share a piece of land with a set budget for a number of planned weeks a year. There is a common-pricing system, where the consumers and producers collectively decide on a reasonable price for the produce, depending on the budget. Those involved usually enter into an "shared risk and reward" agreement upfront. Other times, a CSA Farm is a simply managing your own back yard garden and offering weekly orders for people in your community.
So why should I consider joining a CSA Farm?
1) Its Environmentally Friendly - CSA Farms dramatically reduce your impact on the Earth. By purchasing produce from a farm down your street, you are reducing the transportation of food over long distances which contribute to global warming.
2) Its Educational - Many CSA Farms offer apprentice, work share or internship opportunities which allow you to gain a deeper understanding of what's involved in producing the food we eat. Many CSA Farms offer the space, resources and help you need to start a garden of your own.
3) Its Healthy- Maybe you have no desire to garden. Then consider at least purchasing some of your groceries at your CSA Farm. Did you know, the longer it takes for food to travel to your grocery store, the less nutritional your food will be. Food loses nutrition the moment it is picked. At a CSA Farm you can be assured that the food you are buying has been harvested that very day.
4) Its Social - Joining or participating in a CSA Farm enables you to connect with people in your local community. Not only will you be surrounded by people who share your same values and goals, but you could possibly wind up meeting a new friend!
So if you're looking for a fun, healthy and active way to contribute to your local community, consider getting involved with CSA Farm. Research local farms online or get in touch with your local government to find the closest CSA Farm near you.
(Photo comes from Flipside Farm, one of Rimol Greenhouse System's Customers, a Community Supported Agriculture Farm in Longmont, CO)