Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a farming model in which community members pay upfront for a share of a farm’s harvest. They then pick up produce each week over a season. In addition to supplying Valentine Dining Hall with food through the year, we want to give community members access to the food that students grow to cook in their own homes. Book & Plow relies on CSA share sales to sustain itself financially.
The reason so many people love CSA’s is the “freshness factor” and that aside from vegetables, there is no easy way to get vitamins and minerals into your diet. CSA’s bring people to farms to access the freshest food possible. The only way to beat the freshness of a CSA is to have a home garden. CSA’s make a lot of sense, especially when you consider most “fresh” food in the grocery store is harvested in an under ripe state in order to survive the journey from California / Mexico / Florida / Chile without being damaged and that the average distance traveled by food is 1,500 miles from farms to our plates.
The most notable benefit of a CSA model is getting to know the people who grow your food. To have weekly face to face interactions with your farmer is an amazing thing! Not only that, but you can give feedback about vegetables you like and don’t like, ask for gardening and cooking tips, and deepen your relationship with food knowing it was grown with respect for the land and love of the product.
Wikipedia has a great article that explains the benefits of a CSA model and some history. That article can be found here.