The What’s What of CSA’s

You’ve heard the acronym thrown around at farmers’ markets by devoted foodies. Perhaps you have conjured some ideas about what a “CSA share” actually means. For some of you, this is the first time you’ve ever seen the letters together (don’t worry). Allow us to demystify any confusion.

CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture,” and they have grown in popularity in an effort to bridge the gap between farmer and consumer. Essentially, a CSA is a trust pact between a farmer and a buyer, whereby the buyer purchases a share in a farm’s harvest. The money from each share serves as pre-season capital for the farmer. The buyer is guaranteed a bag of produce* weekly or bi-weekly. The trust factor becomes important when weather is factored in. Favorable weather one week? Likely a bigger, more diverse bag of produce. Mid-July in a drought (2012, anyone?)? Lots of tomatoes, folks. Either way, both parties have worked to mutually benefit the other.

Regardless the yield, understanding where your food is coming from, who grew it, and which chemicals were used to cultivate it is of growing interest to the American public. After all, isn’t there something more romantic about an apple with a few spots on it than a glossy green apple big enough for two?

Click here for a comprehensive database of Central Ohio CSA farms.

*Loosely defined as vegetables, fruits, bread, cottage foods (jam, honey, popcorn. . .), coffee, etc.