Friday, 14 September 2012

Community supported agriculture benefits local growers and consumers

When Mary Phipps and her husband decided they were going to start their own farm in 2008, one thing went without question — they would use community supported agriculture.

Jed Dillard, livestock and natural resources agent at the Jefferson County Extension Office explains community supported agriculture as a farmer or a group of farmers that take pledges from people in the community to support the farm. In return, those who make pledges get a weekly basket or ration of what the farmers produce. Basically, everyone benefits.

Pricing may vary by CSA — some take payments weekly, monthly and quarterly. For example at Orchard Pond, members pay quarterly for their shares of produce, bread and coffee, according to the farm’s website. For the fall quarter, which began at the end of August and carries through the beginning of December, members have paid $350 for a share of vegetables that they receive weekly. Members also have the option of adding fruit shares for $210, bread for $84 and coffee for $112. There are also half shares offered, which can be picked up on a bi-weekly basis.

“The key thing as a producer is they have their market more assured,” he said. “When they get 500 pounds of zucchini, they don’t have to worry about taking all of that to the farmer’s market with just hopes of people buying it all.”

The CSA concept has been around in the United States since 1986, according to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. It originally started in Europe and Japan. The first U.S. CSAs were the Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts and Temple-Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire. Now there are about 1,000 CSAs in the United States. CSAs can offer shares of vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, cheeses, flowers and homemade breads.

For local CSA members, fresh, local and bursting with flavor are all frequently used words when describing their food.

Kelly Beck and her family have always tried to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diet, but getting it local and fresh was a bonus.

Original Article Here

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