What is a CSA and why you need to know about it!

“I love ordering things because when they arrive it is like a gift from me for me!” ~ unknown

Today we are talking about Community Supported Agriculture or CSA programs!

What is it? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are programs in which individuals can buy a “share” of the harvest directly from their local farmers. Usually CSAs are run like a subscription service where you pay up front for the season and then each week (or biweekly depending on the program) you receive a basket of the fruits and vegetables the farm produces. Some CSAs also provide eggs and meat. When I think about CSA programs I immediately think about that Food Network show Chopped! Except instead of getting a mystery box of sketchy food items – your mystery box includes tons of fresh fruits and vegetables grown by your local farmer!

Why should I join one? There are many benefits of participating in CSAs including:

  • Getting super fresh food straight from the farm (many times this is organic produce)
  • Lower costs for your fruits and vegetables
  • Trying new produce
  • Getting to develop relationships with your local farmers
  • Health benefits from eating fresh fruits and vegetables each week
  • Buying local foods is good for the environment
  • It is fun!

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How do you find your local CSA? One way to find your local CSA programs is to go to the United States Department of Agriculture (CSA) locator website. This website allows you to search by state and city to find CSAs in your area. All CSAs, however, may not be listed on the USDA website. Local Harvest a website that links small farms and farmers to consumers also has a CSA search where you can search your area by zip code.

 

Happy planting and eating!

~ The Gardening Dietitian

 

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