Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Northern Massachusetts
What are "CSA" programs?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs have become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer and contribute to the sustainability of local agriculture. Here's how it generally works: A farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Interested consumers purchase a share or half-share and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
This is a mutually beneficial business relationship of shared risk and shared reward. The farmer works hard to deliver a beautiful and bountiful amount of produce each week, and hopes that Mother Nature cooperates.
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow.
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin.
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits.
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.
- Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm - even veggies they've never been known to eat.
It's a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. CSAs have become so popular there can be more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it.