Many times we are asked the question, “What is a CSA?“. Our first response is usually “CSA stands for community supported agriculture”, and while that’s certainly true, a CSA is really much more than this simple definition.
A good CSA is really a partnership between the farm and its members. And, like any good partnership, this means creating an environment of trust and mutual benefits for both sides. Since launching our first CSA back in 2013, we have worked hard at trying to create a farm family feeling for our members. We see our members as playing a major role in helping us grow our farm and enlarging our farm family. In return, we work very hard to provide members with fresh, local, healthy, all-natural meat, eggs and vegetables for themselves and their families.
This year, in honor of National CSA Day (Feb 24), farms across the USA and Canada are coming together in an effort to help consumers better understand exactly what is and isn’t a true CSA. A major element in this effort is the creation of a “Partner CSA Charter” that both farms and their members commit to uphold.
We feel this charter accurately reflects what we believe a CSA should be. Therefore are happy to participate in this international effort and to share this charter with all of our members, past, present and future…
It is up to each CSA farm and its community to build a model that suits them best and to mutually ensure that the CSA upholds the principles of this charter.
- Farm members buy directly from the farm or group of farms. There is no middleman.
- The farm provides member families with high quality, healthy, nutrient-dense, fresh and preserved, local and low fossil-fuel food or fiber, filling the share with products grown on the farm, or if purchased from other farms, clearly identified as to origin.
- Farm members commit to the CSA, sharing the risks and rewards of farming by signing an agreement with the CSA and paying some part in advance.
- The farm nurtures biodiversity through healthy production that is adapted to the rhythm of the seasons, is respectful of the natural environment and builds healthy soils, restores soil carbon, conserves water and minimizes pollution of soil, air and water.
- Farmers and members commit to good faith efforts for continuous development of mutual trust and understanding, and to solidarity and responsibility for one another as co-producers.
- Farm members respect the connection with the land upon which the CSA grows their food and strive to learn more and to understand the nature of growing food in their locale.
- Farmers practice safe-handling procedures to ensure that the produce is safe to eat and at its freshest, tastiest and most nutritious when delivered.
- CSA prices reflect a fair balance between the farmers’ needs to cover cost of production and pay living wages to themselves and all farm workers so that they can live in a dignified manner and members’ needs for food that is accessible and affordable.
- Farmers consult with members, take their preferences into account when deciding what crops to grow and to communicate regularly about the realities of the farm.
- Farm members commit to cooperation with the community of members and to fulfill their commitments to the CSA.
- Farmers commit to using locally adapted seeds and breeds to the greatest extent possible.
- The CSA seeks paths to social inclusiveness to enable the less well-off to access high quality food and commits to growing the CSA movement through increasing the number of CSAs and collaboration among them.
I realize this is a lengthy post. However I believe it’s vital when considering whether or not to join a CSA that you know exactly what we believe and how we consider our CSA a true partnership. Not all CSAs are created equal and it really does come down to… “Know your farmer, know your food.”
For more information on our CSA and how to sign up, please click here… 🙂