What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) originated in Europe and Japan as a reaction to the gradual loss of quality in produce. This natural phenomenon occurred as farms grew further and further away from the center of their own community. For example, in America today, food often travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches the dinner plate. Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are used to cover the stress of travel on fresh produce.
At the same time, small, local farms often experience difficulty competing with the low cost labor and volume sales of such giant "produce factories," many of which are not even located inside the USA. The grocery store conglomerates, driven by price, choose to support those large agro farms. The family farm is left struggling to survive.
CSA IS A COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO THIS SITUATION. In a CSA program, individuals and families commit to support local farms in their community.
The consumers receive fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and farm-fresh products from farms usually within 50 miles of their home. Picked ripe and consumed within just a few days, this produce contains more flavor and higher nutrional value, and requires minimal if any use of non-organic treatments.
In return, the local farmers receive a commitment of a fair price for their produce, products, and delivery. Each CSA operates in its own unique way, but the basic idea remains the same: consumers and farmers collaborating to ensure a safe and healthy food source in their community.