What is a CSA? Community-Supported Agriculture is a way of buying into a farm.
How a CSA works (based on personal experience), generally, is you pay a certain percentage into the farm or commit a certain amount of time and in return you receive products from that farm.
The farm I buy into is Binghamton Urban Farm. One of the things I really love about my farm is that it also supports an urban youth program, teaching young about agriculture.
Benefits/Pros for me:
Every Friday I go to a local school to pick up a giant bag of locally grown, beautiful, fresh vegetables. My hands never get dirty, my body never hurts from being hunch over a garden. I never have to pull a single weed, a dreaded chore in the garden we had as kids.
I love that I never really know what to expect. As someone who thrives on lists and planning, its a break in personality that I really enjoy. I enjoy this one thing being completely out of my control. I like to call it "Fun with Vegetables". Its really become a fun challenge to try new vegetables and cook in new ways. Growing up in a home where crimes against vegetables were committed on a regular basis, I had no clue how much I loved vegetables. Raw, cooked, dehydrated, I'll eat almost any done almost any way.
The price is so right. We are not people with disposable income. We get food stamps/SNAP, not much but just the fact that we are eligible for assistance of any kind shows that we arent financially well off. Our CSA share is a large size and runs about $22 a week for 8 items. This seems pricey at first glance but when you consider what you would pay at the grocery store for high quality, organic veggies, it really is worth the price. Many CSAs are subsidized, giving people who are low income or on SNAP a discount. We were able to take advantage of this discount this year but once my husband got a new job we started paying full price again opening another space for a family who might not be able to afford this program.
Really, for me, there are no cons. I can see cons for other people if they arent adventurous when it comes to vegetables or cooking. Luckily, my husband and I are food adventurers. There are a couple things I dont usually eat but even those things I've found a way to cook or use in a way I enjoy them. Other farms may have the con that you need to commit to volunteer hours, mine does not. I know for some people that isnt a con, but for me and my medical issues, I cant make commitments like that.
**Next up: tools of the trade