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What is community supported agriculture (CSA)?


 CSA or community supported agriculture is a collaborative way for individuals to assist farmers in their agricultural pursuits for the farming season, and in return, you receive deliveries of healthy nutritional organic food. 



How does it work?


It works by you paying in advance for your organic food such as organic vegetables, fruits, spices, etc., and during the farming season, you receive your weekly (or as you determine) organic produce.


For example, in the CariporterOrganic CSA programme, you may pay for 16 weeks delivery of organic food for one person. This 16 weeks is normally from June - September.


During the 16 weeks, you will receive at least six (6) different organic food each week, and as much as thirty two (32) over the course of the 16 weeks. This makes it a lot cheaper than purchasing each type of organic produce separately. 


Each weekly delivery may include organic basil, beans, callaloo, carrots, cherries, chives, collard greens, eggplants, garlic scapes, garlic bulbs, kale, leeks,lettuce, melons, onions, parsley, peppers, potatoes, radish, salad mix, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchinis just to highlight a few. 


Payments are made in advance (i.e. before the farming season which is usually May - October).



Why do you pay in advance?


Paying in advance ensures the organic farmer knows how much clients he or she will be producing food for, so as to reduce wastage and ensure quality. Advance payments also help the organic farmer to cover some of the expenses involved in organic food production, before he or she is ready to deliver organic food to customers. 



What are the benefits of joining a CSA?


The benefits of joining a CSA are:


  • You and other consumers are able to have affordable, fresh, local, healthy and nutritional organic food.
  • It is convenient because you may pick up your organic food at a central location, or have it delivered like in the Cariporter Organic CSA program.
  • Joining an organic csa helps farmers to grow and develop their food enterprises.
  • Being part of an organic csa helps to build communities and local economies.
  • Subscribing to an organic csa helps to reduce waste because less packaging is needed.
  • Supporting an organic csa helps you and other consumers learn about the different food that grows within your province, parish or state.



Commitments within an organic CSA program


Organic Farmer Commitments


  • To grow a diversity of the highest quality … organic vegetables.
  • To continue to improve on sustainable methods of food production.
  • To provide tips and recipes to customers/shareholders for using the vegetables.
  • To work to understand customers/shareholders needs and respond to feedbacks.”[8]


Customer/Shareholder Commitments


  • To pay the full cost of your share (i.e. the total cost for your weekly organic food) before the season begins.
  • To pick-up your weekly organic food during the scheduled pick-up times, or provide a physical address for deliveries.
  • To support your organic farmer in reducing waste by providing your own container or bag for your organic food.



Where can I find CSAs?


Cariporter Organic CSA



Ontario CSA Farm Directory



International CSA Farm Directory



United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) CSA Directory