what is a c.s.a.?
C.S.A. is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, basically a partnership between a farm and shareholders, which in this case would be a family (or individual). The C.S.A. model was designed to provide farmers upfront 'seed money' to prep and plant their fields in the Spring, purchase seeds and hatchlings, or repair infrastructure to ready the farm for the growing season. In return they would 'pay back' the shareholders with 'dividends' in the form of food throughout the summer and Fall. C.S.A.s help the farm by providing a source of revenue to start the growing season and helps the shareholder by providing a sense of food security. This direct relationship between farm and family cuts out all the intermediate steps, and closes the food distribution loop. The classic C.S.A. model doesn't come without its complications however. The farm could have a challenging year due to weather, insects or disease, causing a reduced yield. Or conversely have an amazingly productive year and share an overwhelming overabundance of food. Other issues that arise: Too much of one food and not enough of another, or the same food repeating week after week... seriously, how much rutabaga is too much rutabaga?
another variation of c.s.a.
There's another C.S.A. model that also embodies the concept of partnership and commitment, but for the shareholder carries less risk or chance. Like the traditional C.S.A., a family (or individual) provides money upfront to a provider (farmer, fishery, rancher, aggregator, producer) at the beginning of a season. With a specific amount of mouths to feed and funding in-hand, the provider can then plan, purchase and package a consistent amount of food/products each week to honor their commitment to the shareholder. The shareholders are then guaranteed a stead flow of farm fresh food throughout the season... Not too much, not too little, and if done right, would have balance, diversity and only a few rutabagas ;)