CSA has become a buzzword amongst healthy living circles. But do you know what a CSA is, or how one works?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In essence, a CSA is a farm-based food co-op that is sustained by the investment and help local residents.
To prepare for the growing season, a farm (often family run) will sell shares of their harvest in advance. This allows the farm to have a surplus of funds to purchase seed, farming equipment, and provide employees with their pay. In return, members of the CSA will receive the bounty of the harvest throughout the high yield season, usually from spanning from Spring into late Fall.
As a member of a CSA, you can take advantage of many benefits. The greatest benefit is receiving an array of fresh fruits and vegetables on regular basis, often times weekly. Most CSA's put everything they have available during the time of season and present each member with their share of the harvest in large crates, bins, or boxes.
In addition to reaping the benefits of having fresh produce at your disposal (from a local farmer,) many CSA's encourage members to participate in events and or "harvest gatherings." During these gatherings, both members and farmers put some work into the farm, and often enjoy a bountiful, yet healthy meal together.
As a CSA member, you will most likely being eating more fruits and vegetables, and a greater, seasonal variety from each harvest. This alone offers amazing health benefits, for most CSA's advocate organic growing practices and offer an extensive supply of foods in which some individuals are not accustomed to consuming.
The wealth of having a substantial supply of locally grown produce automatically promotes healthier eating. CSA members will most likely be introduced to new produce, which can mean experimenting with new recipes and flavors. In addition, members can often save money because the investment provides an incredible supply of food that greatly exceeds what one would spend over time at super market.
CSA patronage supports local business and provides you with a wonderful supply of healthier foods. As an added bonus, you can experience the community aspect of joining Community Supported Agriculture, and meet new, like-minded people.
To learn more about the advantages of Community Supported Agriculture and to find a CSA near you, visit localharvest.org.
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