What is Community Supported Agriculture?
In a Community Supported Agriculture model, also known as a “farm share”, consumers pay in advance and accept whatever produce the grower supplies each week. The contents of each weekly box are planned (as much as possible) to provide variety and reflect seasonality and the provenance of the local area.
The growers promise to supply a “share” of the crops they’ve pledged to the CSA, to be distributed to each of the subscribers. The size or amount of a product supplied for the shares can be impacted by the success of the crop, but the price the grower receives remains the same. Some weeks, it will feel like there’s more food in the box than others. It all depends on how the season is turning out and how that impacts individual crops.
CSAs can be seasonal or all year round. The LocalTable CSA (although we don’t strictly fit the CSA model) commences in October of each year and ends in July of the following year (a total of 40 weeks).
A CSA agreement between a grower and a subscriber is similar to an investment, meaning the subscriber (similar to a shareholder) takes on the risks involved with food production along with the grower over the full term of the agreement. This supports the grower through the tough times, like floods or catastrophic heat, by providing them with a guaranteed income. In the good times, subscribers reap the rewards when crops are producing in abundance.
This is why the term “share” is used when referring to community supported agriculture.
LocalTable subscribers will pay a fixed amount for a 40-week share, which is paid for in instalments every 4 weeks. The combined value of the food in each box may vary slightly week to week, but over the 40 weeks, the subscriber receives the full value of the share.
LocalTable is a multi-farm CSA and sources produce from a number of growers in the local region to supply the shares. As LocalTable has taken on the administrative burden and the work to pack and deliver the boxes each week, the participating growers are free to do what they most want to do: grow good food.
A CSA connects the eater to the grower very directly. As a subscriber, you will get to know the people who grow your food through photos and information LocalTable will send you. We also hope to arrange opportunities for you to meet some of the growers to see their farms first hand. LocalTable will help you understand more about our local food system and why it differs to the dominant system of mass production.
Being a CSA subscriber is more than just having locally grown food delivered to your door. You should prepare yourself for a deeply personal experience that is potentially life changing. You will never think the same way about the the food you eat again.