What are CSA Farms?
receive a set fee (from you - the consumer)
prior to the start of the growing season.
In return, you receive shares (produce)
in the farm's bounty and you also share
the risks due to weather and other factors
beyond the control of the farmer.
Every CSA is
unique. The crops grown, the size of the
shares, arrangements for receiving the shares,
length of season and share costs vary from
farm to farm. Contact the farms in your
area directly to find out how they operate.
Most CSAs grow
organic food and provide a diversity of
vegetables and herbs in season. Some farms
also offer eggs and meat either as part
of the share or to be purchased separately.
In general, CSA farmers are dedicated in
using the land in a manner that will not
deplete its nutrients or value for generations
to come. Healthy soil produces healthy food.
How do I join a CSA?
1) Locate CSA
farms in your area. Ensure that you find farmers
that have pickup locations
easily accessible to you. If you have to drive
100km to get your food every week, it will
increase your gas consumption and would not
be convenient for you. Search our directory first. If you can't find any
farms in your area, and there are none listed
in our directory, please contact
us and we'll try to find some in your
2) Once you've found CSA farms in your area,
view their website if they have one. Most
of the details will be listed there. If they
don't have a website, email them or call them.
Here's some sample questions to ask:
- How exactly does their CSA work?
(Every CSA is different, offering different produce,
pricing and payment methods)
- Where do you pick up the produce and at what time?
(This could be near work, near home or on the farm directly - some farmers may offer choices of pick-up locations and accomodate you if they can)
- Can you visit the farm throughout the season?
(Farmers should have no objection to you visiting the farm, however they will probably request that you call ahead to ensure they know to be available at that time. Be aware of any farmer who refuses any farm visits at all - they should have nothing to hide.)
- Can you help out on the farm in exchange for a reduced share rate?
(Keep in mind, you'll probably be required to be at the farm daily but this varies from CSA to CSA)
- Get a list of produce for a typical half-share or full-share for different months of the season that they had last year.
(This is good to have so you have an idea of what you'll get (barring weather and bug problems) as well as a testimony from the farmer of what he/she offers)
- Talk to others who have participated in the CSA you're looking at. Get their opinions. Check the farmer's website for forums or testimony from other members. Even better - go to the pick up location and wait for people to come and talk to them and see their shares.
(This helps ensure the farm is a good investment)
- Ask if there's a pre-season meeting and go to it
(This is a great way to find out more information as well as talk with others who participate in the CSA)
3) After you have all the details of local
farms, you can decide which one you want to
join. Simply contact them and tell them of
your intentions. They will guide you from
The History of CSA Farms
are different versions regarding the conception
of CSA farms. However, the stories do concur
on the location and people involved with
the first North American CSA's. The version
below, was retrieved from the website of
Line Farm which is one of the two original
CSA farms in North America.
In the 1920's, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian,
developed the concept of CSA and it took
shape in Europe throughout the 50's, 60's
and 70's. In 1986, two farms in the USA
(Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton
Community Farm in New Hampshire) completely
independent from each other, adopted the
ideas, forming the first CSAs. Since then,
the CSA movement has been constantly growing
consumer gives the farmer a set fee prior
to the start of the season which helps
cover the costs of the farm operation. Some
of the risk due to weather and other factors
out of the control of the farmer are shared
by the community.
consumer supports the local farmer. The
farmer supports the local economy, causing
a cascade effect for the local community.
This approach also helps the environment!
The more local products that are purchased,
the fewer products are needed to be shipped
to the community, thus reducing harmful
emissions from transport carriers.
Local Food Makes Sense ...
taste and freshness
food is fresher and tastes better than
food picked before ripening that has been
shipped thousands of miles.
strengthens your local economy
Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating
in your community.
benefits for the entire family
contact with farmers provides members
with the opportunity to ask questions
about the practices the farmer uses.
food doesn't travel far, reducing carbon
dioxide emissions from transportation
lines and packing crates.
methods benefit the soil, air, water,
wildlife and people in the farm ecosystem