WHAT'S A CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a unique model of local agriculture. Its roots reach back to Japan, where groups of women, concerned about the increase in low quality food imports and decrease in local farming, initiated a direct purchasing and growing relationship with local farms. This arrangement, called teikei in Japanese, translates to "putting the farmer's face on food." This concept traveled to Europe and, in 1985, to the United States and was given the name "Community Supported Agriculture." There are now over 8,000 CSA farms in the US. This CSA concept is now being applied to all types of agriculture, including flowers, honey, meat, eggs, dairy, and medicinal herb producers.
CSA is a partnership between a farm and a community of supporters. CSA members purchase a "share" of the crops that are grown on their farm, usually at the beginning of the season. In return, the farm provides a portion of the harvest back to the member throughout the season. Shareholders also agree to accept some of the risk associated with farming and understand that the forces of nature are different every year and may affect the harvest accordingly. We rely upon years of experience and planning to minimize these risks but as farmers acknowledge factors that are beyond our control.
The benefits of this arrangement to the consumer are that they have a connection to a specific piece of land and farmer in their local area. This relationship allows them to better understand the seasonality of harvests and hopefully delight at the amazing range of what can be grown in their own environment. They also know that their flower share will be reserved for them and don't have to worry about arriving at a market to find them sold out. The benefits of supporting local agriculture extend to protecting open spaces from development, supporting pollinator habitats, and maintaining a strong healthy supply of local flowers, food, medicinal herbs, honey, and more.
One benefit to the farmer is financial support early in the season when expenses are high and income is low. Another perk for the farmer is to have guaranteed sales. Many other outlets, such as farmer's markets, restaurants, wholesale, and events can be weather dependent as well as subject to the challenging swings of the pandemic economy. Support for small farmers is important now more than ever.
Thank you for you interest in Community Supported Agriculture! Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions at all.