CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It is where you pay a lump sum to a local farm at the beginning of the growing season, and in exchange you receive fresh produce every week, all season long. Paying in advance helps small farms and startup farms to pay for their initial production costs, enabling them to grow their business more easily. You are basically investing in local food growers, and in exchange you are receiving a seasons worth of fresh produce. Depending on the farm, other products such as yogurt, butter, meat, eggs, and cheese may also be available.
- Support the local economy- By investing in a CSA, rather than purchasing all of your produce at the supermarket, you can ensure that all of your money is going to support the local economy, rather than the economy of an entirely different state or country.
- Reduce your impact- By supporting local farms, you can reduce your impact on the earth. Since the food is grown much closer to your home, considerably less fossil fuels will be utilized in transporting the produce from the farm to your house. When you purchase produce from the grocery store it is often shipped long distances, from other states, countries, and even continents.
- Save money- Many CSA’s offer discounted prices for paying in advance. The produce will be cheaper, pound for pound, than if you buy the same produce from the farmer’s market.
- Know where your food comes from- Purchasing from a local CSA enables you to know exactly what went in to producing the food that you eat. If you have concerns about GMOs, pesticides and herbicides, or ethically responsible animal care, then purchasing from a CSA will allow you to ensure the food is up to your standards. Most farms will be more than happy to give you a farm tour, so you can see exactly where and how your food is grown, prior to investing in their farm.
- Higher nutrient produce- Nutrients of produce begin to degrade the moment they are pulled from the earth. The longer it has been since the food has been picked, the lower the nutrient content will be. By buying your food from a CSA, you can ensure that it was picked the day of purchase, making it fresher, tastier, and more nutritious for you.
- Encourage yourself to eat more fresh foods- By investing in all of your produce at the beginning of the season, you now have a set amount of produce coming your way every single week. This will encourage you to eat more produce so that none of it goes to waste. If you tend to not eat enough fruits and veggies as is, becoming a CSA member could be just the push you need.