From the Farm to Your Table

June 18, 2020
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Connecting with Community Supported Agriculture

Summer is here, and it’s time to enjoy all the foods that come with it. From the juicy sweetness of peaches to the delicious crunch of late summer corn, there is nothing better than enjoying the bounty of produce at this time of year. This summer, why not skip the grocery store and get fresh, local produce right from the farm? That’s the beauty and ingenuity of Community Supported Agriculture programs.

FRESH FROM THE SOURCE

Community Supported Agriculture programs, or CSAs, are a way to support farms in your area while getting seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, and more directly from the source. By buying from the farm, you help support the agriculture in your community, while also highlighting the important work that farms all around the country do to keep us fed and healthy. You’ll also get direct access to the freshest produce around.1

Community Supported Agriculture is as much a business strategy for farmers as it is a philosophy. When CSAs first started, members would buy a share in advance of the growing season, much like buying a share of stock in a company. However, instead of a financial return, the member’s ROI comes in the form of fruits and vegetables, harvested directly from the farm. Depending on a member’s level of investment, they might get a box of produce once a week or once every two weeks.

A CSA provides many benefits to both the farm and the community. Participating in a CSA provides farms with additional capital in advance of a harvest season. Sometimes this investment is enough to sustain a farm through seasons of drought, pests, and other issues that may cause a crop to fail. Participating in a CSA also allows farmers to expand the types of crops they’re growing with less risk. At their core, farms are small businesses that are integral parts of every community.1

FLOURISHING WITH BENEFITS

With your produce coming fresh from a CSA each week, grocery shopping becomes more streamlined. Farms often have multiple local pick-up spots for your convenience. Larger CSA programs may even offer the option to deliver directly to your door. Many CSA supported farms allow you to order online, and some even let you choose between different fruit and vegetable options (or opt-out of specific crops altogether).

In addition to being able to order online, many CSAs also include recipes for how to create delicious and healthy meals with your share. Best of all? If you’ve ever been curious as to how a farm works, many CSA programs welcome members for tours or to volunteer on the farm itself.2

The average CSA has a growing season of May or June until September, with an average cost of $300-$600 for the whole season. While that may seem like a lot upfront, it breaks down to a weekly average cost of $17 to $34 per week—not bad for healthy eating that also supports your local economy.2

If this sounds refreshing, consider joining a CSA in your area this summer. It’s a tasty way to do something good for yourself and your community, too.

1. USDA.com, 2019
2. USNews.com, 2020

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against a loss.

Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels