At its heart, a CSA is a partnership between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared. It’s an evolution of the usual producer / customer arrangement into a community approach wherein local farms and customers work in partnership to take control of their food supply by providing their members with a variety of local, often organically produced food from vegetables and meat, to milk, bread and honey.
A CSA helps to address increasing concerns about the lack of transparency, sustainability and resilience of our food system. It is one of the most radical ways that we can re-take control and ownership of our food system.
Consumers, often described as CSA members, are closely linked to the farm and the production of their food, and provide support that goes beyond a straight forward marketplace exchange of money for goods. This involvement may be through ownership or investment in the farm or business, sharing the costs of production, accepting a share in the harvest or providing labour.
There is no standard model but the most common produce for CSA farms is vegetables, but they can also include eggs, poultry, bread, fruit, pork, lamb, beef and dairy produce. At Lascaux Permaculture gardens, we are focusing on the production of high quality, sustainably grown vegetables and eggs from our happy little flock of chickens and ducks.
Why have a CSA?
There are benefits for all involved in a CSA. Farmers receive a more stable and secure income and closer connection with their community, and consumers benefit by eating fresh healthy local food, feeling more connected to the land where their food is grown and learning new skills. They are becoming increasingly popular in the UK where there are CSA farms comprise of at least 5,000 trading members and feed around 12,500 people a year, two thirds of which are supplied with all, or nearly all, of their vegetable needs through the community farms.
What can you expect from joining your local CSA farm?
Each CSA is different, but members agree to the principles laid out in our charter, giving you piece of mind.
When joining a CSA farm, you can expect to receive a share of food, have direct contact with the farmer and know that you are helping to provide them with a sustainable income.
Many CSA farms offer volunteer opportunities, work parties and open days where you can put on your wellies and help out. This provides a fantastic opportunity for you or your family to learn more about how you food is produced and meet lots of new people.
In time, we intend to branch out beyond vegetables and work with other local farmers to provide
sustainably reared meats, cheese, fruit, honey and many more.