What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)?
CSA is a system that directly connects a farmer to consumers by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a farm or co-op. The farmer and the consumer share the risks and benefits of farming. In exchange for subscribing to a harvest, consumers receive a box of fresh produce or other farm products, including milk, eggs, cheese, and meats.
Many CSA's provide product weekly, though some offer monthly or seasonal specials. The benefits of a CSA are bountiful, as they strengthen the local economy and community and allow consumers a glimpse into where their food is coming from. Many farmers will include newsletters with their share boxes, updating their subscribers with the goings on at the farm, recipes, and invitations to visit the farm. Consumers are privy to both the bounty and pitfalls of running a farm. From great harvests, to crops wiped out due to frost or drought, the public develops a greater understanding of the process. Subscribers may also have the opportunity to collect the “seconds,” produce that is deemed too low quality to put to market.
Though details vary from farm to farm, CSA's share three main characteristics: shares sold prior to the season, weekly deliveries to members, and an emphasis on community and local produce. With a direct connection to the consumer, farmers are able to better know the needs of the community. Likewise, with a direct line to the farmer, shareholders are able to express their interests and needs. From this base, four main types of CSA's have been developed:
Farmer managed: A farmer sets up and maintains a CSA, recruits members, and controls the overall management.
Shareholder/subscriber: Local residents set up a CSA and hire a farmer to grow crops, and shareholders control most of the management.
Farmer cooperative: Multiple farmers develop a CSA program, which may expand the offerings to the members.
Farmer-shareholder cooperative: Farmers and local residents set up and cooperatively manage a CSA.
The Healthy Grocer is proud to partner with Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op (LFFC) for the 2019 harvest season. Boxes of fresh of produce or other farm products will be dropped at The Healthy Grocer each week for customers to pick-up.
The Healthy Grocer has provided fresh, local and organic produce from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op on its shelves for 10 years. LFFC is a non-profit, organic farmer's cooperative that got its start in 2006 with just 7 farmers and has since grown to include 100 small-scale family farms within a 20 mile radius of Lancaster.
For more details on share options and how to sign-up, click here.