It’s that time of year when we crave the fresh, local fruits and vegetables that begin with spring planting. To get a weekly share of the season’s best, here’s how you can sign up directly with a local farmer’s CSA.
A community supported agriculture (CSA) program is a pre-season agreement between a farmer and customer for a weekly share of food. The customer signs up for a weekly share as the growing season begins. Customers may pay at the beginning of the season or weekly to support the farmer financially and to help the farmer better plan. CSA members pick up weekly produce from the farm or a designated location. Some CSAs offer produce only, while others provide eggs, milk, meat or flowers.
The benefits of becoming a CSA member include weekly fresh produce, trying new fruits and vegetables, a better understanding of seasonal eating and lastly, building a relationship with the farmers who grow our food.
One of the best ways to choose a CSA program is to find one close to your home or work, or at your favorite farmer’s market. It’s important to ask farmers questions about their CSA program and growing practices. Here are a few questions to consider:
- What quantity of produce can I expect to receive each week?
- Does your CSA include any meat, milk, poultry, eggs, herbs or flowers?
- Do you ever supplement CSA bags with food from other farmers?
- Is the produce grown using organic and sustainable practices?
- Can CSA members select produce for their share?
- What is the distribution schedule and the distribution location?
- How many weeks are included, or are there seasonal options?
- What happens if I can’t pick up my weekly share?
Sign up for local food
In the Kansas City region, customers can meet local farmers and learn about their CSA programs at the Eat Local + Organic Expo from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 9 at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park KS. Additionally, KC Healthy Kids offers the KC Food Circle Directory of about 25 local farms, including many that offer CSAs.
If you live outside the KC metro, you can find a CSA near you by searching the Local Food Directories: Community Supported Agriculture hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Communities Sharing Agriculture National CSA Directory or Local Harvest, a national non-profit organization promoting local food.
Photo: Wild Hollow Farm is a member of Rolling Prairie Farm Alliance CSA.