In the community gardens system, produce is represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the gardeners, who grow the produce; and the people, who eat and enjoy the produce. These are their stories. Dun. Dun.
CSA … uh, what’s that?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a system that allows consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. The farmer sets up shares that can be bought by the public to receive produce and/or other products. The difference between a CSA and other share purchasing clubs is that by participating in a CSA shareholders share the risk of the growing season.
How did it all begin?
According to “The origins of CSA in America”, during the early 1970’s, community farm initiatives got underway in early Japan and Chile. These initiatives did not directly influence the 1986 start of the CSA movement in America. The influence came from Europe from the Biodynamic agricultural tradition.
The inspiration that helped start the first two American CSAs came from Austrian Philosopher Rudolph Steiner’s lectures on agriculture. These two farms, The Temple-Wilton Community Farm and The Indian Line Farm, are still thriving today.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of participating in a CSA?
1. Farmers get to plan and market their crops ahead of season, get to know the community members they’re serving, and with the advance payment get to purchase materials needed for the growing season.
2. CSA members know exactly where their food is coming from, how it’s grown, and help support their local food resources.
3. CSA members get to have fresh produce delivered directly from the farm for a period of weeks during harvest.
1. CSA members share the risk of the growing season. If the farm experiences a drought, freeze, or any act of nature that may cause crops to not grow during the season, then you may not get all the fresh produce as agreed.
2. Farmers only offer a few shares a year, if you didn’t make it on the list you have to wait for the next harvest season to participate.
Some CSAs in Idaho accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or better known as Foodstamps. If you would like to participate, in a one of the many Idaho CSA programs, please checkout the CSA tab.