Community Supported Agriculture (CSA—a concept that ties the farm producer directly to the consumer—has taken root across the country.
Farmers and consumers link through an agreement. The consumer pays a subscription to the farm in return for a certain quantity of farm produce or products
A program to learn more about CSAs is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, Crosby Conference Center. The event is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and Michigan State University Extension.
Consumers benefit through Community Supported Agriculture in at least a couple ways. First, consumers know where their produce is being grown and are able to visit the farm to see first hand production practices. Second, through a CSA, consumers know exactly where their food dollar is going.
Producers benefit by having a market in place for their produce. They are selling retail versus wholesale. They can better plan what mix of products they will produce and are not just producing with the hope that they can find a market or someone will stop at a stand to purchase the produce grown.
The CSA does require a different level of planning and service that farmers will want to think through before setting up a CSA program.
The Dec. 11 program will cover what consumer expectations are from a CSA, first hand experiences from four northwest Ohio and lower Michigan CSA operators and resources for starting a CSA.
The program is open to consumers and farm operators who would like to hear about CSAs first hand. The cost is $10. A program flyer can be found at http://fulton.osu.edu; click on events.