What is a CSA?
CSA (also known as Community Supported Agriculture) is a sales model that connects people directly with farmers. When you sign up for a CSA at a farm, you pay in advance for a portion (or "share") of the farm's upcoming harvest. CSA members will receive a regular (often weekly) box of farm-fresh food all season long. In addition to having a steady supply of in-season produce, you directly support local farmers and typically spend less money than when buying produce from a store.
For most CSAs, you pay a flat sum before the harvest season begins. If paying the full amount at once is not possible for you, ask your farmer about setting up a payment plan. Some farms may also offer different CSA levels, often in the form of "full" and "half" shares, so that customers can choose the amount of food that is appropriate for their needs.
Every CSA farm operates slightly differently, and we encourage you to pick a CSA that works for you before applying for funding assistance through the Farm Share Program. There are a number of factors you may want to consider when choosing a CSA, including:
- The variety of food — Each CSA farm will provide different kinds of food, depending on what they grow and what partnerships they have with other farms. Some CSAs will just provide a single type of food (such as produce, meat, dairy, or processed goods like bread), while other CSAs will provide a mix of food groups.
- The time and location of pickup — Farms typically have certain times and days of the week when CSA members can pick up their shares at the farm. Some farms also offer off-farm pickup locations as an easier alternative for customers that live in towns or cities.
- The cost of the share — Costs of CSA shares vary by farm. CT NOFA's Farm Share Program can cover a portion of the share cost.