What are CSAs and how do they work?
You can buy directly from an organic farm by subscribing to a CSA. Subscribers can pick up every week or bi-monthly a box of organic produce from a pick up area in their neighborhood (i.e. libraries, a subscriber's home, etc.) Cost of membership varies by farm and region.
What are the benefits of CSA farm membership?
CSAs promote sustainable agriculture in five ways:
1. Provide farmer with direct outlets for farm products and ensures fair compensation
2. Encourage proper land stewardship by supporting farmers in transition to low or no chemical inputs
3. Strengthen local economies by keeping food dollars in local communities
4. Directly link producers with consumers allowing people to have a personal connection with their food and the land upon which it was produced
5. Make nutritious, affordable, wholesome food accessible to community members
What are Farmer's Markets and why are they important?
Farmer's markets are usually open-air locations where farmers can sell their crops directly to the public. Farmers markets are essential because they serve as an outlet to bring together rural farmers and urban consumers. They allow consumers to meet and interact with the farmers on a personal level. Since these are the same farmers that have produced the food for sale, farmers benefit from valuable feedback from consumers. In exchange, consumers benefit from access and exposure to agricultural issues facing farmers in their region.
Other benefits for consumers include both access to local, fresh produce, and reduced cost due to produce being sold directly by the farmer. "Middlemen" dealing with packaging, marketing and long distance transportation are eliminated. Supporting Farmers Markets therefore reduces the environmental costs of agricultural production. The social importance of Farmer's Markets cannot be understated since it allows people from diverse backgrounds to interact and build a community.
To find a CSA or Farmer's Market in your area, visit Local Harvest's Web site.