Members of a CSA purchase a share in advance, committing to the farm for the season and helping cover the initial annual costs of the farm operation. In return, members receive boxes of the farm’s produce or products throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and being more knowledgeable of local food production.
Once harvesting begins, members pick-up a weekly box of foods which may include produce, fruits, cheeses, eggs, meats, poultry, flowers, herbs or preserves. Pick-up sites are often located at a member’s house, local businesses, or at the farm.
Along with farm-fresh food, CSA shares generally include:
For FairShare CSA Coalition and FairShare growers, CSA is MUCH MORE than just a weekly delivery of food or food products.
As CSA becomes a household name, we’re seeing more and more versions of “CSA style” products on the market. These “box schemes” source products from all over the country or world, just as most grocery stores do (we’re grateful to have a strong group of grocery co-ops in Wisconsin which do a wonderful job supporting local growers!). You don’t build a relationship with any of the farmers involved and it may be difficult to even find out where something really came from. On the other hand, our growers are the producers of the vast majority of their box contents. Does that mean they don’t collaborate with their neighbors to add value to their shares by offering occasional specialty items? No, it means that the CSA Coalition growers are the primary producers of their share members’ food. It means that as a member of a FairShare farm you TRULY know your farmer. Your dollars are literally going directly to the farmer at full retail value for their farm products. Your box is not a hodgepodge of products amassed from throughout the region or country, but rather a delicious box containing the bounty of your farm, picked, washed and prepared by your farmer, for you.
The goals of CSA support a sustainable agriculture system which provides farmers with direct outlets for farm products and ensures fair compensation.