Communities Supporting Agriculture

Local Harvest says CSAs are gaining popularity nationwide.

| March/April 2009

The number of community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms is on the rise as more people become aware of this sustainable form of grocery shopping. According to the Local Harvest, the number of CSAs in the United States has risen from 50 in 1990 to about 2,000 today. Many CSAs have waiting lists. CSA farmers offer weekly produce deliveries in the form of a share, or subscription, to their harvest. Some CSAs deliver produce during spring, summer and autumn, and experienced farmers offer winter shares of cold-weather storage items such as brussels sprouts, onions and potatoes. Many CSAs also offer eggs, dairy products, meat, honey and natural soaps. Not all CSAs are certified organic; ask about farmers’ growing standards before joining. Some farmers who don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers don’t pursue expensive, time-consuming organic certification. Most CSA farmers welcome farm visits. The price of a share varies; some farmers specialize in serving low-income families, and some CSAs accept government food stamps. Subscribers usually pay in advance for an entire season. Visit Local Harvest to find a farm and CSA near you.

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