Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) gained momentum in the United States in the mid 1980’s, however, the concept originated in the 1960’s in Switzerland and Japan. Consumers were interested in healthy food, and the farmers seeking stable markets joined in an economic partnership. Today, CSA can be described as a subscription service provided by local farms; membership fees are paid at the beginning of the growing season and in return members are provided with fresh, seasonal produce each week. Arrangements are flexible and vary from farm to farm.
CSA farmers produce items such as fresh produce, meats, cheese, baked goods, directly for local community members. It differs from direct marketing in that members commit to a full-season price before the season begins. With this support farmers are provided capital up front when the need is the greatest. In return, members make a connection with the growers and obtain a set amount of produce throughout the season. Community members become shareholders by paying in advance of receiving the produce. Cost of membership varies from CSA to CSA.
Why support CSA’s?
The local food movement has been gaining popularity in recent years. More consumers are interested in a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables, and it is becoming important to many consumers to have knowledge of their food’s source and how it is grown or raised. Community Supported Agriculture is one way to meet the needs of these consumers. Many CSA’s in this region provide fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, meats, eggs, and more. By picking up a weekly share the member has a frequent direct contact with the producer. This business structure creates economically stable farm operations keeping local family farms in business. Purchasing food locally keeps dollars circulating in our community.
How to get started with a CSA?
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County has developed the Steuben County Farm Product Guide as a listing of local producers, farmers’ markets, CSAs, and U-pick operations. Visit putknowledgetowork.org for the most recent version. Steuben County has three CSA operations to choose from: Clover Road Farm in Cohocton, Peaceweavers CSA in Bath, and Muddy Fingers CSA servicing the Corning area. These and other farms can be located in the Farm Product Guide.
In order to help make the connection between consumer and farmer, CCE-Steuben has established the annual Locally Grown Food Festival that will showcase many local farms including the three CSA’s in Steuben County. The Locally Grown Food Festival will be held on April 19, 2013 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the Union Hall at 100 Civic Center Plaza in Corning. Join CCE-Steuben and sample dishes created with local products, connect with local producers, and purchase locally grown products on sit
Last updated April 13, 2017