What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and has become an increasingly popular way for farmers to connect their local community with their fresh grown, just-harvested produce. This relationship between farmers and their local community is a win/win, as the community invests in advance to support the farm and gains access to quality produce in return.
The basic concept? A shareholder pays ahead for several weeks, or often even an entire summer’s worth of veggies, fruits and other fresh food products (shares are often also available for farm-raised meats and dairy, or homemade bread). The consumer gets a great deal and freshly harvested produce in exchange for their commitment to pre-purchase. Besides the clear nutrition benefits of just harvested vegetables and fruits, you also get the opportunity to connect directly to a local farm. CSA share pick up locations are arranged in advance to ensure they work well and a popular location for pick up is often at the farm itself!
Because CSA members sign up for their “share” in advance, the farmer can better anticipate how much to plant and grow. Often people are given more than their fair “share” in appreciation of the support. Members are often informed in advance of a list of items to expect over the duration of the share, yet exactly what -or how much- is received can vary, as changing conditions can alter the harvest. Farms also often send out weekly updates about the current week’s harvest.
This past fall, INNATE employees were given the opportunity to sign up for a 5-week long CSA share through Local Harvest. To support this employee connection to farm fresh food, INNATE Response picked up a generous portion of the tab as a way to encourage any CSA-interested folks to take the plunge and see what it was all about. Our internal Wellness Warrior team also complemented CSA involvement with “Veggiecation,” an education course designed to help CSA newcomers learn about the veggies they received, including their benefits and some great new recipes to try.