It’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season again in Northern California. Every year we look forward to the incredible abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables available this time of year through our CSA. If you’re not familiar with CSAs, here’s a little background…
CSA farms operate as partnerships between farmers and members of their surrounding community. CSAs are usually organized around small family farms producing high-quality, organically-grown produce. CSA members pay the farmer up-front at the beginning of the growing season, providing operating capital and sharing in the financial risks of the farm for the year. In return for their investment, members receive weekly “shares” of the crop throughout the harvest season. The quantity and quality of produce in each share is determined by the week’s harvest; early and late season shares are sometimes light, and peak-season shares can be quite abundant. The produce is usually delivered directly to CSA members by the farmer, bypassing normal food distribution channels; doing so provides better value and a fresher product for the consumer while also increasing profits for the farmer.
- the peace of mind that comes with personally knowing who grew your food;
- higher quality produce than what is available at supermarkets;
- access to unusual, local products not available at supermarkets;
- higher success rates and financial stability for small farmers;
- mutually agreed upon upfront costs for both farmer and member;
- greater efficiency and less food waste;
- reduced air pollution because of local delivery; and
- many other benefits.
CSAs dovetail nicely into a car-lite lifestyle. Once a week, at a central drop-off point, subscribers receive their shares. The share container size is consistent throughout the season, making transporting by bicycle a breeze.