Posted on 30 August 2008 by

CSA Farms: Another Option for Urban Gardeners

By Cindy Naas

If growing a few kinds of tomatoes, a couple of pepper plants and maybe herbs has inspired you to want to be involved in a larger farm, why not consider CSA, or community-supported agriculture?

It’s a great way for city dwellers to experience farm life and support farmers, too.

CSA is a way of spreading the risk of farming amongst a group of people, and of sharing the produce of the farm as well.

Members subscribe to each growing season, paying a set fee for a share of each week’s produce. In a good year, a subscriber might get several bags of fruit and veggies, but in a bad year, there may be only small amounts of food or even nothing at all, depending on how the crops are doing.

How they are run: CSA farms are usually privately owned, and subscriptions are offered as they become available. Many of the older established farms have waiting lists for new subscribers. Some CSA farms require a certain number of hours spent helping- weeding, planting, packaging each week’s produce – while others don’t even allow this option. If working on a farm for a few hours a month appeals to you, be sure to ask when looking for a CSA farm.

What to Expect: Each week during the growing season, subscribers will be asked to show up and pick up their bags of produce. Many farms allow you to choose what you’d like to see in your bag for the following week, but some just provide an assortment of everything being grown. For those whose farm includes a work requirement, you’ll be assigned a day or days during the month. Failure to show up for your work days usually results in being unsubscribed.

What’s in the Bag: The CSA farms I’ve subscribed to have included an astonishing variety of fresh veggies and flowers, from the typical radishes, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes to more unusual items such as gooseberries, mini pumpkins and assortments of Chinese vegetables. Some CSA subscriptions include bonus items as they become available, such as bales of straw, leftover pumpkins in October, and once, a fresh rhubarb pie since the owners were being overrun with rhubarb.

There are farms which produce other items such as soap and wool, so it is easy to find a farm which matches your own interests. Another benefit of joining a CSA farm is the likelihood that you’ll make some new friends!

Finding a CSA farm: there is a link on the website of the Robyn Van En center:

Van En is the founder of CSA farming. The website contains a lot of good info as well as ways to locate a CSA farm near you.

2 Responses to “CSA Farms: Another Option for Urban Gardeners”

  1. Shibaguyz Says:

    NO FARMS NO FOOD!! A CSA is the best way to participate in and support your local farmers. Thank you for this important post.

    talk to you soon…
    The Shibaguyz

  2. PeakEngineer Says:

    CSAs are a fantastic way to get closer to your food. There are several CSAs in our area of Ohio, and I have yet to hear of a negative experience

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