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Poll: Do You Subscribe to Community Supported Agriculture?

Do You Belong to a CSA?

The Atlantic finally broached a rather touchy question I have quietly wondered for a long, long time: are CSAs a ripoff? In case you aren't familiar with a CSA, short for "community supported agriculture," it's basically a service wherein you buy a subscription of locally grown or raised produce, eggs, or meat and receive a share every month. I know the concept furthers the idea of good, clean, and fair food — yet at the same time, I've always found the prices to be outrageous and, quite frankly, beyond my means. I'd rather just head to the farmers market. What about you?

Source: Flickr User erin.kkr

Join The Conversation
rbaech rbaech 7 years
We did a CSA earlier this year, and actually just ended with them last week. It was $36 a week, and although the produce was nice, it wasn't amazing and I couldn't justify the expense when I could get produce of equal quality and lower cost at the farmers' markets. That said, my area has amazing farmers markets and co-ops, so I'm spoiled.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
I don't know if they're available in my area, haven't checked, but that's the option I picked. My sister did CSA for a long time and LOVED it. She paid $22 a week and got enough fruits and veggies to feed her family of 5 for more than a week (she ate mostly vegetarian then). She got TONS of food. I don't think she does it anymore, but only because of financial reasons. I love supporting local farmers, it's great for the environment since the food doesn't have to be transported. My sis said the food was better too, picked fresh rather than unripe.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 7 years
I've looked into them, but there aren't any available in our area.
sparklemeetspop sparklemeetspop 7 years
We used to, through Farm Fresh to You, but couldn't eat the produce quickly enough. I liked it because they would give me stuff I've never tried before. But the fruit wasn't always as good as those I have gotten from the Farmer's Market.
kastarte2 kastarte2 7 years
Okay after reading that article, I am actually a little annoyed. The author didn't do any research at all. Just wrote about his own experiences with a rather pricey CSA. He didn't bother to find out how much people are paying on average or even how much his cost in comparison to other CSAs in his state. This just seems like irresponsible journalism. He, and you too Yum, actually, are giving CSAs a bad rep with out even taking the time to do the math. Also, why is the only "No" option "No, they are a rip off" Could there really be no other reason why people don't sign up for CSAs. Your bias is showing.
kastarte2 kastarte2 7 years
My CSA is a bargain. I saved a ton of money last year getting my produce that way. My share is about $17/week and goes from June to November. I get way more than $17 worth of veggies, eggs, bread, jam and cheese every week. Much more than what I would get for 17 bucks at the supermarket. I find it surprising that the idea that they are rip offs is even floating around.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I don't have one close enough to make it worth the effort/money, unfortunately.
carrolle carrolle 7 years
My CSA is a total bargain! In my winter CSA share (I'm in the midwest), I would get vegetables, fruit, beans, farm-fresh eggs and sometimes even Amish-made egg noodles, muenster cheese, or popcorn. It was almost all certified organic and it broke down to about $35 a week for two people (in between $17 or $18 per person). In contrast, it would usually set us back at least $100 to go to the farmers market just to meet our produce/eggs/cheese need. As an added benefit, we would get produce in the CSA that was not available at the farmer's market such as greenhouse-grown spinach. I think the most important part about a CSA is that it allows farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers (and as any good food policy analyst will tell you, the price per item is lower than at the farmer's market where they sell at retail prices). When you pay your CSA membership up front, farmers don't have to go into debt when buying seed and preparing for the growing/harvesting season. CSA shares are one of the few ways that make working as a small, independent farmer viable because, even in the most successful small farms, the profit margins are razor-thin.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I found a really cool one to join this year and it's a total bargain for what you get. If you can't eat all the produce yourself, you can always go in on it with a neighbor or a friend and split the food up. Or you could freeze/can/pickle it.
Emelia Emelia 7 years
I don't think the article in the above mentioned post is an accurate description of most CSAs. The ones in my area come from individual local farms. The season lasts 12-30 weeks depending on the variety of produce that is grown. We have about 15 farms offering CSAs this year and each farm has between 15 and 30 shares. There are several locations to pick up your share including our downtown farmer's market. I believe this situation works better because you actually get to develop a relationship with your farmer. They even offer "to the farm tours" a couple of times a season so you get to see where your food is being grown and meet others who are a member of your CSA. I think developing these relationships with your farmers, neighbors and food is what belonging to a CSA is really about. There is risk involved, if they have a devastating crop then it will effect my share. But I really believe the benefits far outweigh any problems that may arise.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 7 years
I wish there was one available where I am. Walmart and a Korean mart are the only places to buy vegetables. Walmart never has all the vegetables I want and the Korean mart's veggies are usually rotten.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I voted no - but the reason is that I don't think we could use all the produce before it went bad. I guess then it would be kind of a rip off. I'm not opposed to the idea though, perhaps I'd give it a try in the future.
ncsuemme ncsuemme 7 years
Honestly, I find it interesting to see CSAs being called ripoffs. I can definitely see the case in The Atlantic's article, but being in a CSA in New York City has been one of the best money saving investments I've done. My friend and I are splitting a single veggie share, fruit share and dairy share, and it averages out to $12/wk total per person. It's going to be the right amount of veggies where I can comfortably go to the farmer's market or store and splurge on anything else I really WANT but I'll have a supply coming in regularly. I think your location comes into play big time in the cost/value assessment of CSAs.
buzzlightgirl buzzlightgirl 7 years
I used to, but I was paying too much for lettuce and apples. Many times the box had bigs flying around.
ClClClare11 ClClClare11 7 years
I belonged to one until we started getting badly bruised and overripe produce. Also it was way too much produce for 2 people to eat.
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