Urban agriculture has been gaining popularity due to the benefits in the community. Urban agriculture helps provide food security and helps create an economy by also creating environmental benefits. It is important to support local farms in your community in order to continue to provide fresh produce to families that need it. One way to continuously support your local agriculture is purchasing a Community Supported Agriculture share(CSA). Community Supported Agriculture has been around for over 25 years and has tens of thousands of families signed up.
CSA is essentially a box of locally grown fruits of vegetables from a farm in your community. This box may come every week or bi-weekly and could contain almost anything that was harvestable in the farm that week. This box could either be delivered to you, or you could pick it up at the farm, or they will have a pick up location in your community. CSA is a great way to support your local farm without having to worry about when or what vegetables to get. This might not be a great alternative to someone who is picky, but you can put restrictions on some or limitations on your boxes. Your CSA can also include meat, cheese, eggs, bread, and other artisan products.
How much is a CSA, and is it worth the price?
Figuring out if a CSA is worth the price definitely varies on what area you live in, and how much you may already spend on fresh produce. I attached links down below to a few articles that I have found that list out the items they have received in their CSA boxes compared to what they pay in the stores. In all the articles, there have always been more savings with the CSA boxes. The quality of the vegetables have all been demonstrably better with the CSA boxes, and this may be a result of growing and eating vegetables in season.
How do you find a local CSA?
Honestly, finding a local CSA was not easy. My first attempt was on a website called Local Harvest, and it is a website where local farms can sign up. Unfortunately there were only ten farms near me in Vero Beach, Florida and the majority of the farms have not updated their information within the last five years. After more searching and no results, I began to just look for local farms in my community and call them to see if they did CSAs and how to sign up. I finally found City Side Farms, which is located within ten miles of me, and they deliver their produce. They have their own website for setting up whatever delivery option works best for you. Although this farm only specializes in microgreens and wheatgrass, hopefully if you are struggling to find a farm near you, you can always do a basic google search of farms near me. Calling or even visiting local farms might be the only way to find out about their CSA programs because there are not many updated sites nationally.
Are there any risks for joining a CSA?
In majority of the CSAs members will pay in full for the whole season and then the farmers will use this money to provide a bountiful box. It is not guaranteed that each box you received will be the same amount of produce and this may vary with seasons. If at any point your box is very limited you may receive a reimbursement. For the CSA model they make sure their customers get served first but there are rare occasions where a few crops do not make a successful yield.
Search – LocalHarvest. (n.d.). Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?jmp
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://hvfarmscape.org/sites/default/files/csa_price_comparison_study.pdf
CSA: More for your money than fresh vegetables (Research Brief #52). (n.d.). Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.cias.wisc.edu/csa-more-for-your-money-than-fresh-vegetables/