Monday 30 January 2012

Community Supported Agriculture

 If you always wanted to grow your own veggies but buying from a farmer's market is the closest you are likely to get, think about buying directly from the farmer 
through a Community  Supported Agriculture (C.S.A.) program.                                                                  
The farmer sells the consumer a share in his crop at the beginning of the year. The consumer then receives their share of the crop, as it is harvested, in the form of a box picked up at a convenient locale or sometimes delivered directly to your door.

The advantages are: You have access to amazingly fresh and tasty food. You know exactly where your food originates and how it is produced.  In most cases you are encouraged to visit the farm. The farmer has a reliable source of income. You are supporting plant diversity and food security.
Disadvantages are: You share the risk with the farmer, if the crop fails you lose your money.  You often do not know what vegetables you will be receiving each week. The boxes will have small amounts to start and an abundance at the end of the season, so you need to be adaptable and ready to freeze or can or share. It is undoubtedly more expensive than buying at the grocery store.

In my experience costs can be reduced by volunteering to work on the farm for an agreed number of hours. My kids loved visiting the farm. If you live in an area where the growing season is short,  consider a farm in another area and request the box be shipped out by Greyhound. Some farms also have a winter program where they store root vegetables for you and you receive a pre-arranged amount each week. I have found this to be good value. Honey, fruit, eggs and meat are also available at varying prices. If you donate to a charity that needs fresh food consider using part of your donation to purchase a CSA share in their name.

This program is for people who can afford to pay extra for good quality food.  Who believe in supporting small farms. Who want to cut back on exposure to pesticides. Are concerned about food security and loss of diversity. Shares are on sale from January to end of March.,,


  1. Susan, is there a CSA or organic produce delivery service for Calgary. I tried searching and couldn't find anything current.

  2. Thanks for your query Edith. See my post about Eagle Creek Farm for info.

  3. We have a CSA farm in our area and I just noticed they were offering their shares for sale for the upcoming season. It is certainly something to look into.

  4. Hello Crafty Gardener. Even if you don't sign up they can be a nice place to visit.