CSA stands for “community supported agriculture,” and these programs are a perfect way to support your local farmers and develop a direct connection to your food source. When you join a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of produce. This means that you’ll receive a set amount of produce periodically (usually weekly), but the type of produce may vary depending on how well different fruits and vegetables are growing that season. You pay for the entire season on the front end, which allows the farmer to plan for the upcoming season. Many farms, however, will offer a prorated membership if you choose to join mid-season. The upfront cost is typically $300–$400, which often gives you fresh local produce from June to late October or early November, depending on your location. This works out to about $20 per week, which makes joining a CSA the most cost-effective way to buy produce.
Even more reasons to join a CSA:
- Exposure to new fruits and vegetables
- Produce is fresh, and harvested at its peak
- Engages kids directly with their food. You may even want to take your kids on a field trip to visit the farm. Get them excited about picking up the box every week.
- Supporting and maintaining a connection with your farmer
- Working with what you have, rather than trying to plan meals around the variety in the grocery store. This takes some stress out of meal planning.
- Eating seasonally, and gaining an understanding of what grows when.
- Farms often have farm-to-table dinners or other events at the farm for CSA members
Check out some of these resources to find a CSA in your area: