If you’re looking for a easy way to consistently access local food, consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
In this model, customers pay a farmer up front for shares of produce and other farm products. Customers agree to share in the risks and rewards of the season and, in return, receive a weekly box (or bag) of delicious, locally grown produce and farm items.
Benefits of CSA Programs:
For the Customer:
♦Receiving fresh, flavorful produce picked at the peak of ripeness
♦Cultivating relationships with the farmers who grow your food
♦Gaining exposure to new vegetables and cooking techniques
♦Develop an understand of seasonal eating
♦Supporting the local (food) economy
♦Understanding how food is grown
For the Farmer:
♦No “middle-men” means receiving more income of each dollar sold
♦Guaranteed income at the start of the season
♦Marketing done in “off” season
♦Relationships with customers
Questions to Ask CSA Farms
CSA Programs often vary from farm to find. When searching for one that meets your needs, consider the following questions:
♦What are your farm’s growing practices?
♦How many people does one share feed?
♦How are your shares distributed (packed or not)?
♦Where and when is the pick up?
♦How many weeks is your CSA season? What are the dates?
♦What is included in your CSA share? Are other items available for purchase?
How to find a CSA farmer:
To find a CSA farm in your area, utilize these resources:
Local CSA Fairs
♦Monday, March 20th Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse, Ypsilanti, 1-4pm
♦Sunday, April 2nd Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market, 1-4 PM
For Other Regions:
Use our website to find a CSA in your county:
Filter by entering the keyword ‘CSA’ and selecting your county
Kelly Wilson is the Local Food Coordinator in SE Michigan for Taste the Local Difference. She runs Simple Gifts Farm near Flint and is a registered dietitian. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Christina Carson. Photo of Second Spring Farm, Cedar, MI.