Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a growing trend in communities all across the nation. CSA’s begin when members of the community pledge their support to farmers by purchasing shares directly from a farmer. Once a share is purchased, they receive a box or bag of seasonal produce each week.
In recent years, CSA business models have become more innovative, with producers coming up with more developments to increase benefits for farmers and consumers. Some of the developments include health and wellness programs, flexible shares and value-added products. CSA’s are now not confined to just produce and can include things like eggs, bread, meat, flowers and cheese.
Here are some of the benefits for consumers:
- Developing relationships with local farmers and opportunities to learn more about the food grown/produced on the farm.
- Receive fresh food weekly.
- Exposure to new produce and recipes.
- Visits to the farm to see where the food comes from.
For farmers, they benefit from the extra cash flow early in the season and have an opportunity to market and network in the community. While there are many benefits, it’s important to understand the risks. Most of the time, consumers pay for their share for the entire season. However, in cases where produce is limited, like in times of a drought or other circumstances, the consumer is not typically reimbursed. The consumer may also get less than expected at times. These risks are known as “shared risks” due to the idea that the farmer and consumer are in the agreement together so they share the risks and the benefits. If the risks bother you, a CSA might not be your best bet.
If you want to be part of a CSA, find a local CSA near you by www.localharvest.org.
United Country Real Estate has been supporting farmers since 1925 by assisting them with buying and selling farm and ranch land. If you’re a farmer looking for more land or thinking of selling, find an experienced agent near you at www.UnitedCountry.com.