Community Supported Agriculture, also known as CSAs or farm shares, has become an effective way for people to buy local, seasonal, organic food directly from a farmer. It’s a simple, community-building idea that has had a positive impact on communities and farmers alike. It also makes local, organic, seasonal foods accessible to many, and adds significant nutritional value to the diet. Because of the natural and soil-building practices of organic and biodynamic farms, the food produced on these farms can have much more nutrition than produce from a store.
In Colorado, we are lucky to have so many CSA options available to us. We are surrounded by many organic and biodynamic farms. The list below includes 13 of our favorite farms in and around Boulder and their CSA programs. It’s a good idea to start your research now to find the CSA that would work for you next spring, and know when they will begin selling shares for 2017. The shares go quickly so you’ll want to be in the loop when they go on sale! If you know the cost of the share ahead of time, you can be prepared financially to make the purchase when the time comes. Saving for a few months might be necessary, but remember: you’re paying up front for 5-6 months worth of fresh, organic, seasonal food – what a great gift to give yourself! And buying a CSA share for someone you love is great holiday gift idea.
Part of the agreement to pay up front for a CSA share includes the idea of shared risk. In most CSAs, members pay up front for the whole season and the farmers do their best to provide an abundance of produce each week. The idea is for CSA members and farmers to feel like “they’re in this together”. This shared risk is part of what creates a sense of community among members and the farmers. Local Harvest explains this well on their website: “If a hailstorm takes out all the peppers, everyone is disappointed together, and together cheer on the winter squash and broccoli. Most CSA farmers feel a great sense of responsibility to their members, and when certain crops are scarce, they make sure the CSA gets served first.” On the flip side, if the farmer is successful with certain crops, you benefit by receiving a bigger share.
The following websites provide a wealth of information about what a CSA is, why you should join, basic facts to help you determine if a CSA share is right for you and which one to choose:
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