While visiting a local farm a few weeks back I learned of a concept in local food distribution known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It is also known as Community Supported Agriculutre but the concept which originated in Europe is basically an alternative, locally-based socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution.
Essentially a CSA is a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms, with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, in a vegetable box scheme, and also sometimes herbs, cut flowers, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, as well. Some CSAs provide for contributions of labor in lieu of a portion of subscription costs.
To learn more about CSA’s as part of my ongoing Enviro Dad Reviews feature, I visited Willowtree Farm, which is located just outside of Port Perry, Ontario near Lake Scugog. Willowtree is an active CSA farm with over 300 acres of land producing over 30 different fruits and vegetables. I was warmly received by the staff there and was given the chance to learn more about CSA’s from their point of view. From that visit I prepared the following video review:
I think CSA’s are a wonderful initiative that provides supporters of local food and agriculture with a unique opportunity to both support their local growers, while receiving a guaranteed supply of locally-produced produce each and every week.
To learn more about CSA’s I would encourage you to conduct a Google Search on Community Shared Agriculture and search out participating farms in your area.