What is a CSA?

Local Harvest

“For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer…” Read more at Local Harvest


California Department of Food and Agriculture

“Community-supported agriculture program” or “CSA program”
means a program under which a registered California direct marketing
producer, or a group of registered California direct marketing
producers, grow food for a group of California consumer shareholders
or subscribers who pledge or contract to buy a portion of the future
crop, animal production, or both, of a registered California direct
marketing producer or a group of registered California direct
marketing producers.”


What Is Community Supported Agriculture?

K. Sattanno, M. E. Swisher, and Rose Koenig

“According to the USDA, a CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or philosophically, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. There are many other definitions that define a CSA. Kelley, Kime, and Harper (2013), authors of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), define a CSA as “a concept designed to encourage relationships between consumers and growers and for consumers to become more knowledgeable about the way their food is grown” (p. 1). The consumers agree to provide direct, up-front support for the local growers who will produce their food. The growers agree to do their best to provide a sufficient quantity and quality of food to meet the needs and expectations of the consumers and to educate their consumers on their growing methods.

Within this general arrangement of shared interests there is room for much variation, depending on the resources and desires of the participants. Elizabeth Henderson (2007), co-author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, 2nd Edition, describes a CSA as “a connection between a nearby farmer and the people who eat the food that the farmer produces.” Robyn Van En sums it up as “food producers + food consumers + annual commitment to one another = CSA and untold possibilities” (p. 3). Farmers feed the people, and the people share in the risks and potential bounty of the harvests (Henderson & Van En, 2007).” Read more at this University of Florida IFAS Extension page.