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National CSA Week 2024: Learn About & Participate in Community Supported Agriculture in Clark County

Updated: Feb 27


This year, National CSA Week runs from February 19th through the 25th. If you like the idea of supporting one of your local community farmers while enjoying some of the freshest produce you can buy, National CSA Week just might be your new favorite time of the year! According to the Rodale Institute, Community Supported Agriculture programs have been around for close to 40 years now. One of the primary purposes of CSAs is to help keep smaller farm operations in business amidst what has been a steep and steady decline in family-owned farms over the years. But what is a CSA and how does it work? Read on to learn to more about CSAs and find out what farms offer them in Clark County.


The Basics of CSAs

CSAs are in essence an agreement between a farmer and a customer- who then becomes a member once they purchase a share. The member purchases ahead of the harvest, helping to support the farm operation through the growing season- and share in the risk of potential crop failures or low-yield harvests. While this general structure remains constant across all CSAs, there are many different types of CSA models and the products, schedules, and seasons offered can vary. For some CSAs, time worked on the farm can also be included as part of the cost of the share. CSAs can be customizable or market-style where there is some choice or flexibility in what you receive in your box or subscription, while others can be more traditional and simply distribute all items equally amongst the members based on the number of shares purchased. While the majority of CSAs are based on a traditional summer through fall harvest schedule, others may cover the winter months with select crops and/or other items like eggs and dairy. Add-on items like flowers, herbs, and prepared foods may also be offered by some farms. 



Tips for Choosing a CSA

CSAs can be very different from one another, so it's wise to consider several different factors before you purchase a share:


Size of your Household

Many CSAs offer different share-size and schedule options. If you have a smaller household or travel often, try searching for a farm that either offers half-shares or that will allow you to opt for less frequent distribution. Another option would be to find a buddy to go in on a share with. In the case that your household is large enough, you may want to purchase more than one share. CSA programs generally give helpful recommendations to help you decide on the amount of shares you should purchase.


Food Preference and Shopping Style

CSAs are a great way to get exposure to new produce and foods that either aren't available at the store or that you would never have thought to try. If you, or other members of your household are picky eaters though, it may be more important for you to check into what the farm typically produces. It also could mean that you would be a better fit for a customizable or market-style CSA. You want to make sure that you purchase a share of a harvest that you will use.


Schedule and Delivery Method

While it will be local, chances are your CSA won't be just down the street from where you live. Some CSAs may offer delivery, while others may have distribution sites located around the community to help make pick-up more convenient for it's members. Make sure if delivery is not offered that you are able to pick-up your CSA share at the location and time the program specifies.


Participation

Some CSAs offer either visits to the farm, or they may request work time. Interacting with your CSA farmer is a great way to build a connection to your community and your food. If you aren't interested or don't feel you have the time, consider purchasing a share that doesn't request work hours.


Here is a list of some of the local farms that offer CSAs/ Subscriptions in Clark County


Other Types of Boxes and Subscriptions offered locally


Are you a farmer that would like to know more about marketing your CSA program?  Click here to learn more about resources available to farmers from CSA Innovation Network.

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