Community-Supported Agriculture

Large-scale factory-farming organizations have grown so big that they are less and less able to provide us with clean, healthy, life-giving food, or a clean, healthy, life-giving environment for crops and animals to grow in. The time has come for each of us to start sharing agricultural responsibility with those who grow the food we eat.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a relatively new idea in farming that has been seen more and more over the last 25 years. It was introduced to the United States from Europe in the mid-80s. The concept of CSA originated in the 1960s in Switzerland and Japan, where consumers who were interested in safe, high-quality food and local farmers seeking stable markets for their crops joined together in economic partnerships. Some bought into the farms and became part owners, while others advanced money for seed, food, land improvements, and other expenditures required to begin raising crops and animals for food. There are hundreds of CSAs in the United States, with most of them near urban centers up and down the East Coast and around the Great Lakes region, and growing numbers in other areas, including the West Coast.

CSA represents a community of people who pledge to financially support a local farm operation, and join together with growers in order to share the risks and benefits of local food production. Some interested people may choose to join a Buyers Club, through which they pledge in advance to buy a certain amount of the food produced by the farmer. The number of commitments to buy various foods determine how much of each are raised and harvested at any given time. This way the farm only produces what the buyers have committed to buy and there is less wasted effort and need for freezing and storage.

The main goal of these local community-supported projects is to develop participating farms to their highest ecological potential, and to develop a network that will encourage and allow other farms to become involved. CSA farmers offer food that is organically or naturally and biodynamically grown using sustainable agricultural practices in their efforts to provide fresh, high-quality foods to their local supporters.

What is a Locavore?

The word locavore was coined by Jessica Prentice for World Environment Day in 2005, and it became the Word of the Year in 2007. It means a person who values and consumes food grown locally within an area most commonly bound by a 100 mile radius from where they live. By consuming vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy foods harvested locally and eating foods in their season, we can learn a lot about local agriculture.