Community Supported Agriculture

Contents

Introduction

Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. 

In a traditional CSA model…

  • Members share the risks and benefits of food production with the farmer.
  • Members buy a share of the farm’s production before each growing season.
  • In return, they receive regular distributions of the farm’s bounty throughout the season.
  • The farmer receives advance working capital, gains financial security, earns better crop prices, and benefits from the direct marketing plan.

"Current business models for CSAs are diverse and innovative. Producers have adapted the CSA model to fit a variety of emerging direct marketing opportunities, including:

  • Institutional health and wellness programs;
  • Multi-farm systems to increase scale and scope;
  • Season extension technologies; and
  • Incorporating value-added products, offering flexible shares, and flexible electronic purchasing and other e-commerce marketing tools."

T. Woods, M. Ernst, and D. Tropp. Community Supported Agriculture – New Models for Changing Markets. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, April 2017. Web: https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/CSANewModelsforChangingMarketsb.pdf

Find Local Food and CSAs Near You

Search State and regional farm directories

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What is Community Supported Agriculture

Marketing through Community Supported Agriculture

History

Surveys and Statistics

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Where to Find More Information

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Search AGRICOLA, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) Catalog.
AGRICOLA (AGRICultural Online Access) is a bibliographic database of citations to the agricultural literature created by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and its cooperators. Records describe publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines. [Learn more about AGRICOLA.]

  1. Search AGRICOLA: 
    • Find books
    • Find articles
    • Example search terms (Basic)/phrases (Advanced): "community supported agriculture" or "community supported farm???" or "CSA farm???" or "subscription farm???" or "box scheme?" or "teikei"
  2. Subject browse:
    • To browse AGRICOLA: go to https://agricola.nal.usda.gov/vwebv/searchSubject
      Use the "Change" link to select the AGRICOLA Article Citations Database or Cataloging Database (Books).
      Then, select the "Subject" tab.
      Enter a term or phrase in the "Subject" box. Select "Search."

Review Community Supported Agriculture - Automated Database Searches to search additional resources.

Additional Information for Farmers

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Eating Seasonally and Regionally

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Community Food Systems: Farm-to-School, Food Circles, and Farmers’ Markets

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The Sustainable/Organic Agriculture Connection

Information from USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture supports three major programs that offer sustainable agriculture information and assistance. Whether you are a farmer, an educator or a researcher seeking more information about sustainable agriculture in general, about a specific crop, or help with a specific problem, these programs can help. Contact information for each program and a description of each program's area of specialization are provided below.

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Archived AFSIC resources on Community Supported Agriculture include:

Compiled by:

AFSIC staff
The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
National Agricultural Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Reviewed September 2018

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