As a lead in to the Long Island Food Conference that will be held at Hofstra University on Saturday, April 25th, I will be focusing on food issues on the blog this week. To register for the conference, please see this site.
One of the fastest growing sectors of the agricultural market is community sponsored agriculture or CSA. A CSA farm is a farm that runs by subscription. Each subscriber pays a membership fee which gives them access to a share of food throughout the year. Farmers and subscribers share the benefits and risks that are part of the natural process of agriculture.
CSA farms typically produce fruits and vegetables. Subscribers typically pick up their share once or twice a week and it usually more than enough vegetables and fruits for the week. Indeed, there is often more than one subscriber can use and often subscribers split a subscription. Some CSA farms also provide honey, meat, cheese, fish, or other agricultural products.
The benefits of membership with a CSA farm go far beyond the food that is produced. By joining a CSA, one joins a community of people with an interest in clean, healthy, and local food. The farms often offer classes and apprenticeships for those wishing to learn more about farming. They also provide spaces for concerts and community meetings.
CSA farms often become the center of community activity around food or the environment in the region.
Local Harvest runs a national Website that lists where you can find a CSA farm in your neighborhood. The numbers of CSA farms is growing every year and there is likely a farm near you. Check out Local Harvest's site here.