For those unfamiliar with Community Supported Agriculture, it is a concept describing a Community Based Organization of Producers (Farm) and Consumers (You!). The Consumers agree to provide up front support in the beginning of the season to help the farm secure funds for the upcoming season at the time when the majority of purchases are taking place. The Farm then provides to the best of their abilities a selection of vegetables throughout the growing season as well as a space for the community to come together around shared values in a beautiful setting. The interaction and cooperation inherent in CSA's arrangement create certain possibilities:
- For Farmers to know the needs of the Community before working the land.
- For the Consumers to have the opportunity to express their food and financial needs.
- For the commitment to be consciously established between Farmers and Consumers.
- For the Farmer's needs to be recognized, thereby allowing them to serve the Community.
As you can see, this simple arrangement allows great benefits for both the Farmers and the Consumers as well as the Community at large.
The Consumers receive Fresh, High Quality vegetables just steps away from the soil they were grown in. They have the opportunity to regularly walk the land, meet with the farmers, experience the rhythms of Farm Life, visit with farm animals, and watch their farm and community progress and thrive. They have the opportunity to converse with the Farmers to know to provide regular feedback, impressions, frustrations, suggestions, and joys of being a part of CSA. In coming to the Farm regularly, they may meet and know better their neighbors, both their needs and how they are a vital part of the Community.
The Farmers are allowed to put their entirety into caring for the farm and producing the vegetables during the growing season, as they have done their marketing, budgeting, and planning during the winter and have sufficient support established. They have the pleasure of being in direct relationship with the Consumers, to know and serve their needs and share the abundance (and difficulties) of life. The risks of farming (drought/flooding/crop failure) are shared with the Consumers, taking some of the burden from the Farmer.
The Community has kept a piece of land a working, living farm and has a place to meet each other, converse, experience the natural world and grow together. Some may be going through difficult situations in life, and the Community can recognize their needs and help support them, directly through the CSA with a subsidized share or otherwise.
The more an individual works for the needs of society or the needs of others, and the more society ensures that each worker is supported sufficiently to lead a dignified existence, the greater the well being and prosperity of society will be.
If you are interested in reading further about CSA, please see the following article: Community Supported Agriculture: Can it Become the Basis for a New Associative Economy?