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CSA box against a black background, showing the many varieties of produce in a CSA box (leeks, radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, chard, squash, potatoes).

INTRO

TO

CSA

ABOUT COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way to buy local food directly from a farmer. You purchase a “share” and become a farm “member.” As a CSA member, you choose your pick-up location from a list of options the farm provides, and the farm provides a box of vegetables and/or other farm products to you regularly throughout the growing season. Some farms offer choose-your-own options or “market shares” where you can compile your own box of vegetables at their weekly farm stand.

Members of a CSA sign up with their farm in advance of the growing season, which helps farms plan for the season ahead and cover the initial annual costs of farm operation. 

Along with farm-fresh food, other benefits of CSA membership typically include:

  • Farm newsletters with each delivery, including notes about farm activities, box contents, cooking tips, and recipes.

  • Opportunities to visit the farm and attend farm events.

  • Many share options including extended season shares (spring, fall, winter), customizable shares, and various share sizes.

  • Payment plans to spread the share cost across the season. 

  • Financial support for eligible households through the Partner Shares Program. 

  • Knowing your farmer uses sustainable and organic farming practices that limit environmental impact.

CSA supports a sustainable farming system that connects farmers directly with consumers and ensures a fair price for farm products.

Acorn squash
Beets
Intro to CSA

Spinach

Collards

Mint

Mushrooms

Corn

Special

Product

Kohlrabi

Mustard

Greens

Turnips

Kale

Lettuce

Spring share - Squashington Farm

USDA organic certification logo
Radishes, asparagus, lettuce, potatoes, rhubarb

May share - Tipi Produce

Brocoli, carrots, greens, cabbage, chard, garlic scapes

Summer share - Winterfell Acres

Sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, greens

HOW DOES CSA WORK?

CSA members join a farm early in the season by purchasing a share of that farm’s products in advance. In return, members get a delicious weekly or bi-weekly box of foods, carefully grown, harvested, and washed by the farmer, all season long. Members pick up their shares in their neighborhood or at their farm, and can participate in on-farm events, work days, potlucks, u-pick gardens, and more. Some farms offer choose-your-own or “market shares” where you can compile your own box of vegetables at their weekly farm stand!

IT'S REALLY AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

  1. You pick a farm that fits your needs.

  2. You purchase a “share” from a farm and become a farm “member.”

  3. You choose the pick-up location from a list of options the farm provides.

  4. The farm provides a box of vegetables regularly throughout the growing season.

  5. You attend events and activities on your farm, if you want some quality time with your farmer.

WHY CHOOSE A FAIRSHARE-ENDORSED FARM?

Finding the farm that works best for you can be daunting with so many high-quality farms in our community. A FairShare-Endorsed farm promises to:

  • Be certified organic or in transition to organic certification.

  • Grow or produce the vast majority of their products on their farm.

  • Provide a high level of customer service.

Winter share - My Fine Homestead

How to Pick Your CSA

WHAT FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Green farm graphic

FARM

LOCATION

Are you interested in

on-farm activities? Then

you might be interested 

in a farm that is located 

closer to you!  

PICKUP

LOCATION

With so many different pickup locations to choose from, you can find farms that deliver near your house or workplace.

SHARE

SIZE

How many people are using the share? A standard share may be perfect for 3-4, and a small/half share for 1-2.

PICKUP

DAY

Pick up your share on a day that best fits your schedule.

PRICE

Find the CSA share that is most cost-effective for you! (Check out our

Partner Shares Program 

for cost-sharing options.)

ADD-ONS

Interested in meat, dairy, coffee, or other specialty products? See which farms offer add-ons.

# OF DELIVERIES

Different farms offer longer/shorter CSA seasons.

SPECIAL FARM

FEATURES

Some farms offer special tours, activities, or events just for their CSA members.

Summer CSA share example

HOW TO PICK A FARM

1.

2.

3.

4.

Use the tools at csacoalition.org

Our website has lots of great resources to assist in your farm selection. Learn about CSA through our CSA Farm Guide. Then, explore share types with the interactive Farm Search tool and find pick-up locations convenient to your home, workplace, or community.

Get to know your farmer

Become familiar with the farms in your community by clicking on their profiles, reading about farm offerings and their philosophy, and seeking out logistical information regarding pick-up locations and shares.

 

Contact the Farmer

As you narrow your search, visit the farm’s website and Facebook page, and then contact the farm if you still have questions. Farmers welcome inquiries from potential members.

 

Sign up

Fill out the farm’s CSA sign-up form and start receiving fresh food and priceless farm and cooking information.

Check out these additional resources: 

Looking for a CSA farm, but can't find what you're looking for in the FairShare Farm Search? Below are additional resources to find a CSA farm that is near  you and is a great fit for your household or organization:

Farmer harvesting greens in the greenhouse
Thanks to our sponsors for helping connect eaters to fresh food through CSA!
Edible Madison, Sponsor logo

Published quarterly with the seasons, Edible Madison shares the inspiring stories of local farmers, food producers, chefs and the organizations that continue to shape our dynamic local food movement across Southern Wisconsin. Edible Madison supports the work FairShare does to strengthen the CSA movement because we believe a healthy local food economy depends upon deep and loyal relationships between eaters, producers and growers.

Heartland Credit Union, Sponsor logo

Heartland Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative specializing in farm and producer lending. Their services ensure that small-scale farmers, CSA farms, farmers of color and beginning farmers can access the financial services they need to thrive. Heartland Credit Union's expertise in small to medium-sized farm financing is a valuable tool for farmers and FairShare farms which are often overlooked by larger financial institutions.

Isthmus, Sponsor logo

Isthmus has served Madison as a source of news and culture since 1976, converting to a nonprofit organization in 2021. We believe in the power of storytelling to expose wrongdoing and injustice, provide solutions and uplift communities. That includes reporting on Madison's inextricable link to the vibrant farms that surround us. Isthmus is proud to partner with FairShare in supporting the food growers who enrich our lives.

Group Health Cooperative, Sponsor logo
Madison Sourdough, Sponsor logo
Organic Valley, Sponsor logo
Pasture and Plenty, Sponsor logo
Wisconsin Public Radio, Sponsor logo
WORT, Sponsor logo
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