What Is CSA?

CSA Description

Community Supported Agriculture(CSA)


What is CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a locally based food distribution system that creates a direct link between farmers and consumers.

Individuals pre-purchase a "share" of the farm's harvest in the spring when expenses are highest for the farmer.

In exchange, CSA members receive a weekly box of freshly picked organic produce as it becomes available throughout the growing season.

This mutually beneficial partnership helps ensure a more secure market for small farms struggling to compete with larger, less sustainable farms, as well as ensures members consistent access to healthier, safer, and tastier food.


Why CSA?

Taste: We carefully select our produce varieties for excellent taste and quality.

Freshness: Produce is harvested on or before the day you receive it.

Health for Body and Soil: Our produce is grown without pesticides in fertile soil resulting in highly nutritious food and healthy soil.

Support Local Agriculture: Today's agri-"culture" is in crisis. Through a CSA, your dollars go directly towards strengthening and sustaining a small farm - a vital community resource!

Support Responsible Agriculture: Get to know the farm and farmers. See where and how your food is grown.

Good for Gardeners: Let us provide your weekly basics and devote your garden space to your favorites.

History of CSA--From the Madison area CSA Coalition Cookbook

While relatively new in name, CSA harks back to a time when people knew where their food came from, ate in harmony with their local seasons,

and enjoyed a balanced and nutritional diet of basic, natural foods. Community supported agriculture began in the early 1960's in Germany,

Switzerland, and Japan as a response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural land. Groups of consumers and

farmers in Europe formed cooperative partnerships to fund farming and pay the full costs of ecologically sound, socially equitable agriculture.

In 1965, mothers in Japan concerned about the rise of imported food and the loss of arable land started the first CSA projects, called “teikei.”

Japan now has more than 600 producer-consumer groups that supply food to more than 22 million people. The largest cooperative network in

Japan is called the Seikatsu Club (http://www.seikatsuclub.coop/english/). Local chapters of this club can involve thousands of people and

support up to 15 farms. While distinct from CSA or teikei, Seikatsu members speak of "seeing the farmer's face on their vegetables."

Community supported agriculture began in the United States on two east coast farms in 1986. Since that time, community supported farms

have been organized throughout North America, mainly in the Northeast, the Pacific coast, the Upper-Midwest, and Canada. North America

now has an estimated 1,000 community supported farms.

The Midwest, and the Madison area in particular, have proven to be fertile ground for CSA farms and communities. In Wisconsin, the first

CSA projects began near Milwaukee and the Twin Cities in 1988. In 1996, more than 65 Wisconsin community supported farms grew food

for an estimated 3,000 households. The first Madison area farms began in 1992 and by 1996 more than 4,000 area residents were CSA participants.

MACSAC estimates that more than 8,000 area residents currently participate in CSA farms.