Finding Your Markets: "Starting a CSA"
Community Supported Agriculture Webinar
Our next webinar in this series is all about starting your own CSA!
What is CSA?
CSA or Community Supported Agriculture offers a extraordinarily simple, yet profound farming and distribution model that brings big benefits to both the farmer and the consumer.
How Do CSA's Work?
When starting a CSA, a farmer sells his future crop in "shares" (think shares of stock of a company) essentially dividing up his harvest for the year. These "shares" often vary in contents from farmer to farmer but usually consist of a box or basket of specific veggies, or greens and herbs like the Bright Agrotech CSA here in Laramie, Wyoming.
Consumers in the farmer's surrounding community that are interested in locally grown, healthy produce will "buy in" to the farmer's CSA and subscribe to a "share" of his harvest. Every week or so (this will vary on specific harvesting schedules for each farmer), the farmer will harvest and essentially give a dividend of his bounty to his subscribers.
While farmers gain some incredible perks from operating a CSA such as optimizing free cash flow from being paid in full up front, CSA subscribers actually get the most out of the program. Consumers not only get super fresh and hyper local produce, often harvested just a few hours before they eat it, they also get to develop a genuine relationship with their farmer and we think this is HUGE.
The Separation of Farm and Plate
It's no mystery that we, as modern consumers, have become estranged the process of growing and harvesting.
Generally speaking, we have absolutely no clue...
- where our food comes from,
- what kind of chemicals or pesticides are applied to it in the field,
- how it's harvested and handled,
- where it's taken to be washed, sanitized and sorted,
- or even how far it traveled on a truck to get to our plates.
The evolution of our modern food system with it's bigger, more efficient growing techniques is further clouding our understanding of where our food comes from.
Certifications such as "Organic" seek to install some safer standards into the process, but even that doesn't satisfy our need for farm-to-plate transparency.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, when managed ethically and responsibly, are perhaps the most transparent food distribution method out there.
Check out the webinar slides
Reconnecting with Our Food
CSA's are a brilliantly simple way to begin reestablishing the crucial connections between farmer and consumer.
Shrinking the distance between farm and plate not only helps minimize risk of disease (a function of handling and exposure to questionable distribution practices), it also ensures our food is packed with nutrients and flavor.
As we point out in our "Bright Future of Food" whiteboard video, food begins losing taste and nutrient density as soon as its harvested. It's a wonder how our traditionally distributed lettuces, kales and herbs have any nutrient benefits or flavor by the time it finally gets to our plate (traveling an average distance of 1,500 miles).
Sometimes referred to as a "Crop Share Agreement", CSA's
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) helps farmers...
- Sell their harvest in weeks or months in advance helping with cash flow and financing the growing season
- Develop genuine transparent relationships with their CSA partners or customers
- Get feedback about their crops and what their CSA partners like to eat
Community Supported Agriculture helps consumers...
- Know exactly where they're food is grown and what goes into growing it
- Eat the freshest produce possible that was harvested the same day
- Eat food that wasn't transported 1,500 miles from farm to washing facility to distribution center to grocery store to plate... (See our video illustration)
- Gain more nutrients from their food
- Learn about and try out new veggies
- Tour the facility and develop a genuine relationship with their farmer
This webinar is open to the public! Sign up here
Learn How to Start a CSA with this Webinar