T H E   C H I C A G O L A N D   C S A   C O A L I T I O N

About CSA

In its purest form, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes essentially that community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and rewards of food production.

Members of the farm purchase a share in advance--usually in Spring--committing to the farm for the season, which helps to cover the initial annual costs of the farm operation at a time when farmers have very little farming income. In return, members receive boxes of the farm’s produce or products throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and knowing where their food comes from.

Typically, once harvesting begins, members receive a weekly box of food--generally vegetables, but some may include or offer separately fruits, cheeses, eggs, meats, poultry, flowers, or herbs. Pick-up sites are often located at a member’s house, local businesses or churches, at a farmers' market, or at the farm; some farms offer home delivery to some areas. Most farms create a newsletter that accompanies each delivery with notes about farm activities, descriptions of what’s in the box, cooking tips and recipes. Many farms also create opportunities for their members and families to visit the farm and participate in farm events.

The usual CSA season in the greater Chicago area runs from June through mid-October, but some CSAs operate nearly year-round. Farms offer a diversity of share options including extended season shares, multiple share types and sizes, and payment plans to accommodate households on a tight budget. CSA farmers tend to be small scale farms that use farming methods that produce high quality while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

For the Band of Farmers CSA growers and producers, CSA is much more than just a weekly delivery of food; it is a mutually beneficial relationship. They are the growers or producers of all or the vast majority of their box contents. While they might collaborate with other local farmers to add value to their shares by offering occasional specialty items, Band of Farmers members are the primary producers of their share members’ food. It means that as a member of a Band of Farmers CSA farm you truly know your farmer. Your dollars are going directly to your farmer for their farm products. Your box is not amassed from throughout the region or country, but rather a delicious box containing the bounty of your farm, picked, washed and prepared by your farmer, for you.

Articles about CSA:

First Person: CSA Farmers Band Together, by Julia Harvey McDonald (Mar 5, 2015)

Eat Local With a CSA Now, by Robin Schirmer (Mar 2, 2015)

How My CSA Changed My Life, by Bruce Bradley (Feb 25, 2015)

Is This the Year You'll Join a CSA?, by Robin Schirmer (Mar 12, 2014)

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA, by Cathy Erway (May 6, 2013), at  SeriousEats.com

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For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

For a history of Community Supported Agriculture, click here.

                            


T H E   C H I C A G O L A N D   C S A   C O A L I T I O N
A project of Illinois Stewardship Alliance

www.bandoffarmers.org :: info@bandoffarmers.org ::  872.239.4CSA (4272)  :: Sitemap
Mailing Address:  Band of Farmers:: c/o Illinois Stewardship Alliance:: 230 Broadway St :: Suite 200:: Springfield, IL 62701 


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