Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community supported agriculture is a direct marketing model that allows consumers to buy items straight from farmers and food producers. Consumers pay at the beginning of the growing season for full or half-shares, and also sometimes assist with the production process during the growing season. In exchange, they receive regular (often weekly) allotments of the products from the farm or food producer. A CSA allows individuals to make an investment in a small local business while sharing in the risks and benefits of farming from season to season. This model also benefits farmers and food producers because they are assured both a market for their products and greater financial security. Various types of CSA have been developed to provide a degree of flexibility to CSA members, including the CSA workshare, which allows shareholders to offset the cost of their membership by working on the farm, and the CSA farm network, which involves collaboration among farms and food producers for the purpose of diversifying CSA product offerings. See also Community Supported Enterprise (CSE).