CSA: Community Supported Agriculture [Click to watch]
A CSA allows city residents to have direct access to high-quality, fresh produce grown locally by regional farmers. When you become a member of a CSA, you purchase a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October or November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a drop-off location in your neighborhood. Some farmers offer winter shares that come with a variety of root vegetables and greens.
CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront (typically $450-$650). This early bulk payment enables your farmer to plan for the season, purchase new seed, make equipment repairs, and more. Shares usually include 7-10 types of vegetables, enough for a family of 2-3 people. Most CSAs also offer half shares for smaller households or busy people who frequently eat out.
Many CSAs also offer the option of other produce from local farms. For a few extra dollars a week, in addition to your vegetables, you can add fruit, eggs, meat, and even flowers to your order. Most CSAs have a variety of payment plans to give members flexibility in paying for shares. Some CSAs can arrange payments in installments, accept food stamps, offer sliding scale fees, and provide scholarship shares.
Neighborhood CSA groups are run by members. A rotating core of volunteers takes on much of the administrative management of the CSA. This can include signing up new members, collecting members' payments, running the distribution site, and planning community-building or educational events. This frees up the farmers to focus on growing and delivering the vegetables.