So now that we’ve established the start of a definition of a CSA, why are they important?
Simply, CSAs allow regular non-farmers to participate in the production of the food they eat. Usually, that participation comes in the form of an annual membership fee to a CSA farm or farming collective. That membership fee gives the sponsoring farm start-up capital to begin a growing season.
Farmers get paid when they sell a harvest and for most of them, that means they get paid once a year. From that one payment has to be deducted every expense they incur in that year. Think about that for a second. Imagine being paid once a year and having to pay for everything out of that one paycheck.
Utilities usually frown on rolling over a bill 11 times in the hopes of receiving a lump sum payment. That’s a simplified example but it makes the point.
By selling CSA memberships, a farm is essentially selling shares in a harvest in advance of that harvest. Joining a CSA at the beginning of the year allows a farmer to get crops in the ground without having to depend on a bank loan.
Smaller farmers, especially those who want to practice more organic and basic farming methods, often can get agricultural loans and for many of these folks, CSAs are a real lifeline.
So that’s one good reason to buy foods through CSAs. It allows member to support small, local farms and while doing so, share in the harvest of healthy foods throughout the growing season.
We’ll touch on this subject again, as well as many other positive aspects of why joining and supporting CSAs is a good idea. Feel free to leave a comment below to tell us some of the reasons you belong to a CSA.