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CSAs for Every Household

Spring is here! Been thinking about signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box this year but want to learn more before you commit?

Here are some basics to get your started: For over 30 years, consumers have been actively supporting local farmers by purchasing shares of a farm and in return receiving local, seasonal food directly from the farmer. Typically a share consists of a box of fruits and vegetables but can also include a wide variety of other farm products including meat, cheese, flowers or honey. Quantity and diversity often depends on seasonality and change from farm to farm. No two CSA farms are going to be exactly alike so make sure you address the needs that are most important to you and your family. Usually CSAs will offer a variety of options to meet your needs. CSA farms generally deliver their products weekly to a convenient meeting point and some will even deliver to your home. If you are eligible for SNAP benefits, the Oregon SNAP CSA website, created by Zenger Farm, can connect people with SNAP benefits to Community Supported Agriculture. Farms across Oregon that accept SNAP benefits as payment for a CSA share are listed. Zenger Farm is also conducting workshops for farmers to encourage more CSAs to accept SNAP.

The benefits of joining a CSA are numerous. Supporting local agriculture offers us the healthiest and freshest produce available. Exposure to new fruits and vegetables often leads to new favorites and cooking experiments. After visiting a farm, children will often enjoy a wider variety of foods they would never eat before. And we as consumers are given the opportunity to form relationships with local farmers and learn more about how our food is grown.

Benefits for farmers are equally important. Many farmers do not have time or funding to market their products. By creating a CSA program, local communities are able to support farmers in advance of the harvest and farmers can spend their time in the field. Farmers also have the opportunity to meet the people who eat the food they grow.

So how do you find the best CSA for you? Here are a few places to get started.
Portland Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (PACSAC)
Local Harvest
Oregon SNAP CSA

By Sarah Mooney

Thanks for sharing