What is CSA?
Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Through this arrangement, small farmers are able to directly market their produce to the community and the community, in turn, is able to directly support its local farmers.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief:
Advantages for farmers
Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin. Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow.
Advantages for consumers
Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits. Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking. Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm - even veggies they've never been known to eat. Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.
How does the CSA work?
For 2016, the GVSU Sustainable Agriculture Project will continue utilizing the CSA model, selling just 10 single shares of fresh, chemical-free produce from early June through the end of October. The quantity and variety will vary with the time of the year and the weather. For this year, only single shares will be offered which will typically range between 5 - 15 lbs of produce a week and will be enough to feed between 2- 3 people.
Produce will be distributed on Wednesdays, from 10:00am - 1:30pm at the GVSU Farmers Market. In the event of a market cancellation, pickup will be at the SAP Luce Street location.
Shareholders can expect to receive a mix of the following: Spinach, leaf lettuce, scallions, turnips, kale, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, corn, cucumbers, and a variety of others.