Community Supported Agriculture
A method of marketing used by some fruit, vegetable and livestock producers is known as community supported agriculture (CSA). A grower contacts interested buyers at the beginning of the season and offers shares to purchase. Customers buy the shares or subscriptions for the season. Payment for the season is preferably made up front.
As fruit and vegetable crops are harvested during the growing season, they are delivered directly or to key distribution points each week for customers to pick up. Some farms allow their customers to provide labor in exchange for part or all of the value of the subscription. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture (2014), more than 144,530 U.S. farms reported marketing products through a CSA.
Community Supported Ag, National Ag LIbrary, USDA.
2012 Census of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, 2014.
- Best Practices Marketing & Logistics for CSAs, CyBIZ Lab, Iowa State University
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, NCAT.
- Community Supported Agriculture Farms: Management and Income, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Community Supported Agriculture Resource Guide for Farmers, Growing Small Farms, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.
- CSA Forum, LocalHarvest - This organization's CSA Forum is its most popular, with over 1,700 messages covering 350 topics related to community supported agriculture.
- CSA Directory, AMS, USDA.
- Farmers Markets and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing, AMS, USDA.
- Find CSA Farms, LocalHarvest - Search by city, state or zip code to locate a CSA farm near you. More than 800 CSAs are listed in the organization's directory.
- The History of Community Supported Agriculture, Part I, Community Farms in the 21st Century: Poised for Another Wave of Growth, The New Farm, 2004.
- The History of Community Supported Agriculture, Part II, CSA's World of Possibilities, The New Farm, 2004.
- Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook, SARE, 2010 - Available in print or online, the handbook details how farmers in CSA cooperatives can practice cooperative marketing, or work together to market their produce. The book includes advice on staffing, volunteer boards, distribution and legal topics.
- Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems, ERS, USDA.
Links checked and updated December 2019.