Community Supported Agriculture benefits consumers and farmers

Community Supported Agriculture might be defined as a partnership between farmers and consumers.

The U.S. government farming organization ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) has this definition of a CSA on their website:

"Members or shareholders of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land.

Members also share in risks, including poor harvest due to unfavourable weather or pests.

It might be easier to say, 'customers subscribe to a farm, paying to receive a share of vegetables each week throughout the growing season'.

However you define it, the key point is that a group of people in the community pay a farmer to grow vegetables for them. And in many cases they pay in advance for the season.

One key piece of advice for the serious gardener -  buy LOTS of seed EARLY. Seed houses often sell out of popular varieties. Most seed keeps for several years, don't risk running out mid-season.

This is one of my go-to resources for Heirloom, organic and non-GMO seeds. Awesome selection, great prices and excellent customer service.

Community Supported Agriculture is a powerful model, letting the farmer use that advance payment to 'bootstrap' farm operations (hey, that sounds familiar!) Yes, award-winning New Terra Farm is based the CSA model.

The farmer receives other advantages with a CSA:

  • Customers are 'locked in' for the season - once they sign up with a CSA, no other marketing is required;
  • This 'captive market' may also buy other products that the farmer can provide
  • No price competition - it doesn't matter what a neighbouring gardener is selling her produce for - your produce is already sold (in advance!)

There are benefits for the consumer as well:

  • The consumer is assured of a supply of fresh natural veggies, from a known source
  • The consumer connects back to the real source of food, i.e. the land
  • The consumer receives the satisfaction of supporting a local sustainable business

So buying from a CSA program is a great way to get good food and support local business. And if you have ever thought about turning your love of gardening into a business, we highly recommend you consider the Community Supported Agriculture model.

And If you are thinking about market gardening, or are just an avid gardener, here's a couple great seed houses. Both family- owned SeedsNow and employee-owned Johnny's Seeds have a great selection, good prices and lots of 'grow-how' information on their websites.

Our CSA model won us the Premier's Award

More about Community Supported Agriculture

It's no secret that I think that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great model for farmers and communities, so here are 7 CSA success secrets to help make your CSA a winner. CSA success secrets

What does it take to start your own CSA market garden? I put together this Get-Started Checklist to give you an idea to the timing and the tasks if you want to start growing for market with your own CSA. Get your Growing for Market Get-Started Checklist

The current economic situation has made it difficult for even experienced workers to find a job. It's even tougher for youth and students. Why not create your own non-job by starting a Student CSA.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Let's suppose you have a small property(even a big back yard)and you could use some additional part-time income. Creating a small CSA could make you big money.

A multi-farm CSA unites several growers to feed a common community. Is this the way of the future for small farms and small communities?

A great resource for your CSA garden

If you've surfed around my site you may have seen my farming books - 'Bootstrap Market Gardening', 'Bootstrap Greenhouse', 'Bootstrap Survival Garden'.

I didn't know it when I wrote the books but there is an AWESOME supplier of commercial-quality farming and gardening supplies serving the U.S. and Canada.

You need to check put BOOTSTRAP FARMER.

They have everything you need for seed starting and greenhouse growing - including the greenhouses! They are worth a look if you need to get your growing game going.

Free CSA Market Garden Guide

The consumer demand for fresh local organic food has never been higher. Bad news on the supply chain is good news for local growers.

Get my free Organic Market Gardener Start-up Guide and see if this is the right time to launch your CSA market garden business. Download it here.

More free reports here

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