Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a partnership between a community group and a farmer. The aim is to produce local, seasonal produce, supporting local farmers directly and involving people in the life of the farm.
It is cultural and educational as well as productive. There are currently around eighty CSAs trading in the UK and more in development. The concept is growing fast. New research has shown that CSAs have significant social, economic, environmental and health benefits. You can find out more about the CSA model on the Soil Association website.
Benefits to the Community (abstract from www. soilassociation.org)
- consumers benefit from receiving fresh food from a known source
- the environmental benefits of fewer ‘food miles’, less packaging and ecologically sensitive farming with improved animal welfare
- a local economy enhanced by higher employment, more local processing, local consumption and a re-circulation of money through ‘local spend’
- a more secure income which improves business planning and time to concentrate on farming
- a higher and fairer return for their products by selling direct to the public
- increased involvement in the local community; the opportunity to respond directly to consumers’ needs
- receive help with labour and planning initiatives for the future
Some inspiring examples…