Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared.
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.
The main principle of CSA is the community supports the farmer through a direct connection. There are no ‘middlemen,’ what is produced on the farm goes directly to the consumer.
The CSA model in the UK can vary. Consumers, often described as CSA members, are closely linked to the farm and the production of their food. They provide support that goes beyond a straightforward marketplace exchange of money for goods. Customer-business 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. Read about the different types of CSA in the UK by looking at some of our case studies.
The most common produce for CSA farms is vegetables, but they can also include eggs, poultry, bread, fruit, pork, lamb, beef and dairy produce. CSA farms are also developing around woodlands for firewood and also more recently fish.
Benefits for all
Farmers receive a more stable and secure income and closer connection with their community. Consumers benefit by eating fresh, healthy local food, feeling more connected to the land where their food is grown and often learning new skills.
The planet benefits from some of the shortest supply chains possible.