What Is Community Supported Agriculture?


Quick Answer

Community supported agriculture is a farming model that involves community members in all stages of production, sharing the risks and sometimes the work involved in agricultural production. It typically involves purchasing of a share of the farm's harvest in advance and sometimes volunteering some time working on the farm.

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Full Answer

The community supported agriculture model benefits farmers in several ways. Farmers can spend the time needed to market their crops prior to planting, rather than during harvest time. By marketing directly to end users rather than wholesalers, farmers increase their revenues. They also receive the earnings from the harvest early in the season, providing cash flow for operations and helping to avoid the need for credit. By selling a share of the farm's production, farmers share the risks and benefits of the effects of seasonal weather on farm output.

Consumers also benefit from the CSA model. The food they receive is as fresh as possible since it comes directly from the producer, sometimes on the day of harvest. CSA farms typically offer a wider variety of vegetables than grocery stores carry. CSA farms normally encourage members to visit the farm at least once a year and sometimes to volunteer on the farm, which can be fun for members and builds a sense of community. Children of CSA members often show more interest in eating vegetables that they helped produce.

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