Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
A Community Supported Agriculture business format, commonly called a CSA for short, is a system of growing food for a set group of customers, who invest in the grower via a subscription service. The customers pay a set price for a pre-determined amount of regular produce, which varies with the season. Subscribers usually pay up-front costs for the service and often will either pick up the produce or have the produce delivered via a regular route or a pre-determined pick up point.
A CSA is good for cash flow and for security, as buyers “contract” up-front so the market is solid for the year’s production season.
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“What is Community Supported Agriculture?” explains how a CSA works and provides a number of factors to consider before starting your own CSA.
The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center at the USDA National Agricultural Library is a good source of publications and information on locating a CSA, setting up a CSA, or selling at a CSA.
Local Harvest provides listings for over 2,300 CSA’s in the United States. This is a good way to find what others are doing with their CSA and to also market a CSA.