Put simply it’s a social enterprise that reconnects consumers with their food. A partnership between producer and customer that shares the highs and lows of a harvest. CSA schemes can produce fruit, vegetables, herbs, salad, seeds, honey, eggs, bread, meat and dairy produce. Members can get involved by pledging their time and skills or by buying a membership to the programme. Members are then entitled to receive a share of the goods produced. In a plentiful year this can be a bumper crop of food and produce to support them and their families, in poorer times the harvest is reduced and members share a smaller supply, acknowledging that by sharing this burden they are supporting their local community and food producers.
CSA’s build a community around food, allowing farmers and consumers to align their values, gives transparency to food production, removes supermarkets, cuts transportation requirements, reduces food waste and negates the need for unnecessary packaging. By removing these elements costs are lowered and consumers have access to high quality, often organic produce that is grown on their doorstep and has minimal if any environmental impact. CSA schemes are often run by farms that have high environmental achievements and are helping to fight the war on climate change, by supporting these schemes you can be part of the future of farming and of sustainable food production in Britain.
CSA members report feeling significantly happier, with over 70% saying their quality of life has improved with many also saying that their health and wellbeing has been boosted by cooking from scratch more regularly and incorporating more fresh, healthy produce into their kitchens and diets. Many CSA’s also provide training to members, developing and sharing skills and boosting members own knowledge of growing and animal husbandry.
Farmers benefit by gaining community support, improving financial security and sharing the responsibility of food production with their community; this can have a big positive effect on farmer’s wellbeing, a key benefit in an industry notorious for isolation and mental health problems.
What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)So if I’ve inspired you to search out your local CSA project have a look at https://communitysupportedagriculture.org.uk for more information. If you’re local to me I can personally recommend Stanford Hall, a wonderful CSA on the Leicestershire Northamptonshire border, with many community events including wellbeing sessions, parent and child groups and open farm days – a truly wonderful community project that deserves endless support.
Written by Our Eco Life